of Van Zandt County

Pow-Wow Held

by B. Miller

information from Canton Herald 23 September 1999.

The fifth annual Duwali Memorial Pow-Wow was held beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, September 25, at the Chief Bowles (Duwali) battle site in Redland.

This important heritage event was held on the hill overlooking the "Battle of the Neches" where Chief Bowles, Big Mush and six other tribal chiefs and many men, women and children were slain on July 16, 1839.

The event was hosted by the American Indian Heritage Center of Texas, Inc. and co-hosted by The American Indian Veteran Society "Lest We Forget."

Over two centuries ago, many traditionalist members from tribes of Southeastern America left their homelands to escape religious and cultural changes imposed by the invading Europeans.

On July 16, 1839, their dream of cultural and religious freedom ended in a bloody massacre near Redland. The Texas Cherokee and 13 associated bands, led by Chief Bowles (Duwali) and six other chiefs, were attacked by the Republis of Texas Militia.

A marker was erected in 1936 by the Texas Centennial Commission at the place where 83-year-old Chief Bowles was executed.

"This place is a constant reminder people should not suffer persecution or death at the hands of others because of who they are and what they believe," said Keith James, a spokesperson for the event.

The land was purchased by the American Indian Heritage Center of Texas in 1997.

Saturday's activities included a history walk on the massacre site, free diabetes screening and seminar, artist demonstrations, arts and crafts, Indian tacos and other foods, and a late night fire and story telling.

Opening ceremonies were held at noon with the smoking of the grounds and people. Flag and memorial songs and gourd dancing were scheduled for 1 p.m. followed by a grand entry and intertribal dancing at 3 p.m.

After a supper break at 5 p.m., there were to be more gourd dancing, another grand entry, intertribal dancing throughout the night. A closing ceremony was to be held at 11 p.m.

The master of ceremonies was to be Marvin Johnson, a Choctaw, from Grand Prairie and the host of the Southern Drum was to be the Medicine Bluff Singers and "Kiowa Jim" from Dallas. The head man dancer was to be Dennis Begay, a Navajo, from Dallas, and the head lady dancer was to be Emily Goombi Smith, A Kiowa and Ponca, from Dallas. Michael "Stumbling Bear" Tongkeamha was to serve as the head man gourd and Hamilton Frank Tongkeamha was to be the arena director. Both men are Kiowas from Dallas.

The battle site is located about 25 miles east of Canton on Highway 64 on VZCR 4923 in Redland. For more information about scheduled Pow-Wow's or other Native American events call (214)999-6777.

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