Dance, Drum Competitions Highlight Celebration Of Native Culture

A nationwide and international audience will once again convene in Salamanca for one of the most grand and enthusiastic celebrations of Native American culture.

The 2017 Marvin “Joe” Curry Veterans Pow Wow will take place at Veterans Park from Friday, July 14 – Sunday, July 16. The annual three-day event will feature a series of exhilarating dance and drum competitions, including what is billed as North America’s biggest Smoke Dance contest, with competitors coming from across the United States and Canada. Over $100,000 in prize money will be awarded during the Pow Wow.

The Pow Wow is named in honor of Marvin “Joe” Curry, a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians’ Snipe Clan, who led a long and distinguished career of military service in the United States Navy. Curry served two tours of duty in the Korean War and also served in the Vietnam War. In all, he served on eight warships, including the U.S.S. Little Rock during his military career. After completing his military service as a Chief Warrant Officer in the 1970s, Curry served as ship superintendent of the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park for several years before retiring in 1997. He was a strong advocate of veterans’ causes who served the United States and the Seneca Nation of Indians with pride and valor throughout his life. Curry passed away in 2010.

“In bringing this annual celebration to our Allegany Territory each year, we honor our culture, our veterans, including the memory of Joe Curry, and the spirit of community that exists across Indian Country,” said Seneca Nation Councillor Rick Jemison, chairman of this year’s Pow Wow committee.

This year’s Pow Wow will feature the return of the Cultural Tent, where attendees can make authentic crafts and learn about Seneca and Native culture, including many of the different dance styles that will be featured throughout the weekend. Also making an appearance will be the newly crowned Miss Indian World 2017 Raven Swamp from the Mohawks of Kahnawake Territory in Quebec.

Contests will feature several dance styles from various tribes attending the event, including our own Iroquois Smoke dance, as well as Fancy Dance, Grass Dance, Traditional Dance, and Jingle Dance. Special dance competitions will include Original Iroquois Style Women’s Shuffle Dance, Men’s Chicken Dance Special, Sweetheart Team Dance Special, and the Veterans Dance Special. In addition to the dance competitions, the Pow Wow will also feature the Drum Contest and Hand Drum competition.

On Friday, admission is $5 for all ages. Veterans and military personnel (with valid ID) and children age 4 and younger will be admitted free of charge. Grand Entry is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Friday. Grand Entry begins at Noon on Saturday and Noon on Sunday. Gates will open at 10 a.m. Winners will be announced on Sunday evening, before the conclusion of the Pow Wow. Daily admission is $10 for adults and two-day passes are available for $15. Admission for students age 5-17 and seniors age 60 and older is just $5. Native crafts, artwork, and food will be available from a wide variety of vendors, with booths opening at 5 p.m. on Friday and at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Marvin “Joe” Curry Veterans Pow Wow is being sponsored by the Seneca Nation of Indians, Seneca Nation Veterans Iroquois Post #1587, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, and local businesses. For a complete schedule, registration and other information, visit or call (716) 532-8333.