Region’s Largest Powwow Brings Native American Heritage and Culture to Coeur d’Alene

JulyamshJulyamsh returned this year to a new setting with more space and more excitement. Julyamsh is the Northwest’s largest powwow with more than 800 dancers and about 60 drum groups participating in the celebration. This year’s festival was held July 22-24 at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds and was filled with culture, tradition and fun.

When ties were severed with Greyhound Park in 2014, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe was in search of a new home for Julyamsh and after a long two years without the powwow the tribe found a bigger and better home in Coeur d’Alene at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

“I have felt that this is where we belong, in Coeur d’Alene,” said Coeur d’Alene Casino Cultural Affairs Director Quanah Matheson. “Before contact and for decades after, this is where most of our tribe lived, on the north shore of the lake and near the Spokane River. It’s like returning to our ‘capitol city’ for Julyamsh.”Julyamsh

Julyamsh drew roughly 20,000 participants over the course of the weekend and featured multiple activities for everyone to watch. A Stickgame Tournament was held during Julyamsh so festivalgoers could migrate between the fairgrounds and the casino to get a better glimpse of the Native American culture. Apart from the dancing and drums, Julyamsh boasted a horse parade, various forms of art and food vendors.

The weekend started with rainstorms causing some events to be moved but the rain didn’t stop the excitement. The grand entry began with flag bearers and tribal royalty leading all the competitors around the arena. Different types of dances were represented in the grand entry giving a peek of what was to come in the remaining days.

Friday night’s event included the grand entry, special dance events hosted by Coeur d’Alene royalty Little Miss Coeur d’Alene, North Star Lawrence; and Miss Coeur d’Alene, Kyra Antone, as well as the Stickgame Tournament. Lawrence’s dance was a Sweetheart dance for couples in honor of her own grandparents. Antone’s dance featured donated school supplies being placed in the center of the dance floor for people to take what they needed while everyone danced.Julyamsh

Saturday was filled with even more. The Stickgame tournament continued, two grand entries were held, Friday’s reschedule horse parade contest took place and dancing. The night ended with a Royalty Crowning. The weekend culminated the following day with the Head Woman’s special dance, capping off a weekend filled with culture and tradition. Julyamsh 2016 made a grand return that we hope allows the powwow to thrive in the coming years. Visit for a full list of winners.

Celebrity Chefs Grace Chinook Meadow This Summer

Chinook Meadow will be seeing stars this summer – Food Network stars that is. Top Chef’s Antonia Lofaso, Iron Chef’s Cat Cora and local celebrity chefs will grace the meadow for the 2016 Farm to Fork series.

This year Farm to Fork will be held the second Sunday of each month on July 10, August 14 and September 11. Like last year’s inaugural event, the day begins at 10 a.m. with a Farmers Market and culminates with a cooking demonstration by a celebrity chef at 7 p.m.

Farm to Fork
Celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson gives a cooking demonstration at last year’s inaugural Farm to Fork.

Lofaso will display her prowess in July, Cora in August and a special local celebrity chef barbecue rib cook-off will round out the summer in September.

Antonia Lofaso is currently an executive chef and owner of Black Market and Scopa Italian Roots in Los Angeles and is frequently seen as a recurring judge on Food Network’s hit show “Cutthroat Kitchen.”

Aside from her tenure on “Iron Chef America,” Cat Cora has made numerous television appearances including NBC’s “Celebrity Cooking Showdown,” “America’s Best Cook,” “Food Fighter” and the Bravo series “Around the World in 80 Plates.”

Farm to Fork
A guest talks to vendor at the farmer’s market during the inaugural Farm to Fork in 2015.

Local celebrity chefs will gather for a rib cook-off at the September Farm to Fork. The cook-off includes one complimentary Laughing Dog Beer or glass of wine from Clearwater Canyon Winery and a sample tasting of each chef’s ribs, while supplies last. Profits from each ticket sold will go to the charity of the winning chef’s choice.

Tickets for each event vary and are available on *Events will be held in the Chinook Meadow. In the case of rain, the event will be moved indoors.

Julyamsh Returns to a New Home

A long and troubling wait is finally over. After two years of discussion, research and even some looks at potential new facilities, Julyamsh has a new home. That home will be the Kootenai County Fairgrounds in Coeur d’Alene Friday through Sunday, July 22-24. It is always open to all people, and all people are welcomed.

Wheels are already turning to get things in line for Julyamsh, the largest outdoor powwow in the Pacific Northwest and among the largest in the nation, drawing dancers and drum groups from across the U.S. and Canada. Tribal members from all over come to watch, as do local crowds and tourists from around the world.

As many as 800 dancers and 60 drum groups have taken part in Julyamsh, representing U.S. tribes and Canadian bands from across the continent.

Julyamsh will bring scores of vendors, including food and beverage, arts and crafts, and memorabilia. Fairgrounds facilities include 83 acres of camping area, a spacious arena, staging areas and plenty of facilities for horses. Each Julyamsh session begins with a horse parade, horses and riders in full regalia.

This year’s event will be one to remember. Keep an eye out for more information as we get closer.

Plant a Seed, Watch it Grow

Plant a Seed; Watch it Grow

By Robert Stephen Bostwick

At times, some of us look at this place and shake our heads a bit in disbelief. Some of us were around when this was a wheat patch, and not much of one at that with only clay to grow in, slick and sticky in the spring, break-it-with-a-pick-axe hard by August.

So the Coeur d’Alene Tribe planted another seed, a different seed. Gaming began with a 30,000 sq. ft. bingo operation, opening in March 1993. That opening day marked the addition of 93 employees, the largest single job growth in modern tribal history.

Most of those 93 employees, a few of whom are still with us, were beginning their first ever fulltime job, opening their first ever bank account, buying their first car, experiencing their first true hope of a better future. Many, to be sure, wept amid thoughts of their ancestors.

A $3.1 million loan from the Bureau of Indian Affairs got it started. That was a 10-year note, paid back in less than two, establishing certified success, superb credit and the roll toward the first of eight major expansions.

Most people thought the tribe would simply stick with bingo. Idaho went bug-eyed as Class II and lottery-based games were brought in, all in compliance with the state/tribe gaming compact. More success meant more investment and risk—a hotel, restaurants, entertainment and, of course, more gaming space.

Those first 50 hotel rooms weren’t enough, so along came 150 more in 2003, but a destination resort required more than just gaming and a hotel, so along came Circling Raven Golf Club, instantly acclaimed as one of the best in Indian Country and, for that matter, the WHOLE damn country.

The Spa Tower side, including the vast Skycatcher promenade, represents the most recent and arguably most stunning expansion, coming with fine dining in the Chinook Pasta and Steakhouse, a 15,000 sq. ft. spa and 98 luxury rooms and suites.

Unemployment among tribal members in 1993 stood at 70 percent. Unemployment now no longer exists, and the economic growth on the reservation has left the tribe with far more jobs than it has tribal members to fill them. Thousands more jobs are created across North Idaho and Eastern Washington via the economic impacts of gaming and the expansion of other tribal operations and enterprises.

“Many business leaders in the region were supportive,” said Chief Executive Officer Dave Matheson. “But they strongly advised against building here. We, on the other hand, had confidence in each other, and belief in our mission. We also recognized that we are surrounded by breathtaking beauty, and that people would come here if we could provide great memories and fine hospitality. Clearly, we have.”

From the time the doors opened for that first weekend in 1993, no one has looked back, except maybe to think about those salad days, shake our heads a bit, and marvel at this Coeur d’Alene Miracle.