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Native Americans and the general public are free to participate at the American Indian Exposition. The exhibits, events, and concessions are a great way to learn, overcome barriers, and get to know others. All in all the exposition is the perfect way to share the spirit of Native America.
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With the American Indian Exposition celebrating Indian heritage, it’s no surprise that the community is a major part of the event. Indian camps are maintained during the exposition, calling back on the original way of life for Native Americans. These camps are filled with tepees, tents, grass houses, and brush arbors. Throughout this community, there is a sense of tradition and instead of giving, caring, and spirituality.
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The American Indian Exposition is a congregation of tribes from across the country. Fifteen different tribes sponsor the event each year. Sponsor tribes include:
- Fort Sill Apache
- Sac & Fox
Many other tribes also attend the exposition and participate in the weeklong activities. Coming together the members of these many tribes celebrate their collective heritage and unique history. Side note: The Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Caddo, Comanche, Delaware, Kiowa, and Wichita tribes are the Founding Tribes of the American Indian Exposition.
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The American Indian Exposition is full of events focused on celebrating the rich heritage of each individual tribe and Native American culture as a whole. These events are spread across the weeklong program, with each day packed full of activities that create a unique fusion of Indian heritage and modern entertainment.
One of the most anticipated events of the exposition is the parade, which is said to be the largest American Indian parade in Oklahoma. This parade winds through the streets of Anadarko, highlighting the rich Native American history of the city and country. Each year the parade boasts a different theme.
The sponsoring tribes and Indian veterans all participate in the parade. Each of the sponsoring tribes marches in the parade with their tribal Princess being honored in addition to floats created by tribal members, dancers that perform at each Street corner, drumming, and horses. The parade lasts about an hour and loops around to end back where it began.
Traditional Native American handicrafts are an important part of Indian heritage. This makes the arts and crafts exhibits and competitions some of the most important activities of the entire exposition. Artists often sell their work at the exposition and offer live demonstrations on how they create their handicrafts.
A wide variety of handicrafts, art, and crafts can be found at the American Indian Exposition. Artists bring jewelry made of silver and precious stones, paintings, sculptures, pottery, leatherwork, beaded jewelry weaving, costumes, dream catchers, etc.
When you’re done with the handicrafts the cleanup can be extremely messy. We’ve gone as far as working with a dumpster company like Buffalo dumpster rental, and they’ve made the cleanup process real easy. A good dumpster rental company is going to make your life way easier!
Throughout the exposition, there are numerous opportunities to enjoy traditional Native American dances. There are dance exhibitions as well as dance competitions to enjoy. These dances are complete with traditional costumes.
Many different dance styles are performed at the American Indian Exposition each year including traditional, fancy, war, and other dance styles. Dancing includes members of all ages from tiny tots to seniors. For competitions, winners will receive cash prizes.
Tribal princesses for each of the sponsoring tribes are honored with a special ride in the exposition parade. Each tribe will pick a new princess annually to represent them at the exposition. A princess must embody all that is good about the tribe’s culture and possess strong leadership qualities, personality, and poise. The tribal princess will represent the tribe at the exposition, will participate in special dances, and will also serve as tribal Princess throughout the year. They will also participate in a Princess Pageant where they will dress in full regalia, telling the story of their tribal nation, culture, and history.
Miss American Indian Exposition
The exposition also has a “Miss American Indian Exposition” competition. This competition is open to any young American Indian woman wanting to enter. The winner of this competition is given a scholarship and serves as a mentor for a young woman. The purpose of this competition is to promote education amongst Native American girls.
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The American Indian Exposition takes place every year in Anadarko, Oklahoma. This Caddo County city has long been associated with Native Americans since its creation in 1873. Named after the Nadarko Native Americans (a branch of the Caddo tribe), the city is part of the former reservation of the Caddo, Wichita, and Western Delaware.
Today, Anadarko is the headquarters for a Lenape tribe. It is also home of the National Hall of Fame for Famous American Indians.
It’s centrally located among several Indian Reservations with the Caddo, Delaware, and Wichita reservations in the north and Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa reservations in the South. It is also home to a Bureau of Indian Education boarding and day school designed especially for Native American students. Interestingly, Anadarko is one of the rare Oklahoma cities where Native Americans account for nearly half of the population. In fact, the Indian population is so high that Indian words have embedded themselves in local conversation. Crazy to think we started with a background in Buffalo Trash removal and ended up here. Origin stories are always great to hear about. To visit our old employer. You can view it here:
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Native Americans have a rich and colorful history that should be cherished and celebrated. Starting in the 1930s, the American Indian Exposition was started to do just that. It is an annual showcase focused on Indian culture, art, crafts, dancing, and farming skills. The weeklong exposition includes many events and activities aimed at highlighting different aspects of Indian life.
The American Indian Exposition is one of the largest and oldest intertribal gatherings where members of numerous tribes come together to celebrate their heritage both individually and collectively. This weeklong event, completely owned and operated by Indians, focuses on the spirit of Native America.
It has become such a popular event that the city of Anadarko, the State Legislature, and government have all appropriated funds to help ensure this annual event continues. Without this support, the American Indian Exposition (which is a nonprofit organization specifically dedicated to hosting this event) would not be possible. Especially when it rains its gets extremely hectic. One year our roof caved in and we had to call in some local roofers in Buffalo to come save the day. You can learn more about them by visiting their site.