Amber Matte performs “Alegria De Xochilquetzal” at last year’s Four Winds powwow at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

Explore Native American culture during the 20th annual Four Winds Intertribal Society’s powwow at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center this weekend.

The event, which the society’s chairman calls the state’s second-largest gathering, will feature representatives from various Native American nations competing in contests split by age and gender.

Females will show their skills in buckskin, southern cloth, jingle dress and fancy shawl dances, while men will compete in northern and southern traditional, grass and fancy feather dances.

“The northern traditional dance comes from the Lakota, Dakota and Arapaho,” said Ray Duncan, chairman of the society. “They wear two feather bustles on their backs. As they dance, they’ll tell the story of a hunt or war party. They dance in a certain style, depicting what they did.”

The southern traditional dance is very similar to the northern, said Duncan, except dancers wear a single bustle and dance at a slower pace.

Most performances at the powwow are attached to legends and long-standing traditions, and the participants are happy to share the stories with visitors.

“The dance competitions will be there, but during the day, we’ll have intertribal dances where we invite everyone to dance,” Duncan said. “You don’t necessarily have to be in regalia. We encourage those who have never been to a powwow to dance with us, to learn and have a good time. Basically, it’s a big party.”

Saturday afternoon, Aztec dancers will perform an exhibition, which is “quite an impressive display,” Duncan said.

A documentary team working on a project to take back to France will film during the powwow.

In addition, items from vendors will be raffled throughout the day and Native American food will be sold.

“If you don’t know someone when you get here, you will when you leave,” Duncan said. “We’re some of the friendliest people in the world.”

Powwow festivities begin at noon Saturday and Sunday, with the Grand Entry starting at 1 p.m. Events last until 9 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Audrey Spencer at or (254) 501-7476

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