THICA hosts annual Native American Cultural event

SAN BENITO — It’s a celebration of culture.

Families dressed in traditional Native American outfits and headdresses will fill the Veterans Memorial Academy gym on Saturday.

The Texas Heritage Independence Celebration Association will host its annual Native American Cultural Pow Wow.

The celebration includes cake walks, raffles and a Gourd dance traditionally performed by warriors.

According to coordinator Ruben Cordova, the main objective of the Pow Wow is to teach the community about the different cultures of South Texas.

“Our main objective is to teach everyone through living history,” Cordova said.

The THICA aims to bring awareness to the different cultures that make up Texas and the Valley.

“These different cultures have made Texas what it is today.”

The all-day celebration is free of charge and will include crown dancers who will travel from the Arizona White Mountain Apache Reservation.

Cordova said the Apache Crown Dancers will bless the circles.

This is the fourth year of the Pow Wow.

Cordova said it started because there was a need for one in Cameron County.

“We have one in Hidalgo, and people wanted one in Cameron County,” Cordova said.

Danny Rodriguez is with the Lipan Apache and will perform as the Head Man at the Pow Wow.

“I have been asked to take on a big responsibility,” Rodriguez said. “It is a great honor.”

Cordova said the Head Man is the one who begins the dances.

No one is allowed to begin until the Head Man starts dancing.

Rodriguez has traveled to different states and all over Texas to be a part of Pow Wows and has performed as Head Man before.

Rodriguez will be joined by his daughter Dakota Rodriguez who will be Head Woman.

“It keeps the family together and it keeps the tradition going,” Rodriguez said.

The last Pow Wow brought in more than 6,000 guests.

Cordova said THICA wants to see that number grow on Saturday.

If you go

WHAT: 4th Annual Native American Cultural Pow Wow

WHEN: 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 23

WHERE: Veterans Memorial Academy, 2115 N. Williams Road

COST: Free

What is a Pow Wow?

It is a social gathering or ceremony involving feasting, singing and dancing.