Arlee Powwow 2011 Expects Huge Crowds


Flathead Indian Reservation will welcome thousands of people this weekend for the Arlee Powwow - the 4th largest Powwow in the U.S.

There's a great story behind why the gathering happens this time of year:

The powwow's Fourth of July roots go back to the late 1800s, when the reservation's federal Indian agent told the tribes here that such celebrations were being permanently banned.

It was, the agent explained, time for the Indians to walk away from their traditions and join white society.

So the local Indians told the agent that instead of a powwow, they would throw a party to honor America's birthday.

"The chief was kind of smart," Arlee says. "He convinced the agent they were celebrating the Fourth of July."

In reality, it was the first Arlee Powwow.

And this year is the 113th!

Entrance to the Arlee Powwow is free, and everyone is welcome.

Thousands Expected for Arlee Powwow [Missoulian]