the Roots of the Comanche Nations Oldest Gathering
sing the Walters Homecoming song during grand entry of the
celebration. Four drums are needed to accommodate all the
singers that came out to sing and enjoy the pow-wow. (photo
by Paula Karty Comanche Nation News Staff)
The Comanche Homecoming Pow-wow is always held on the third
weekend in July at Sultan Park in Walters, Okla. This is the Comanche
Nations oldest celebration of all time. People come from all
over during the hottest weekend of year, setting up their air conditioned
RVs and ready to contest, BUT thats not how its
Back in the 40s during war time, a certain solider was
returning home from the war. The family of Kelly Poemoceah was so
proud and honored, plus they were extremely glad that he was finally
The family wanted to do something to honor Poemoceah. The family
decided to have a big celebration. The family didnt have a
place to have the celebration, so they approached the City of Walters
and asked to use the park (Sultan Park). The City of Walters allowed
the family to have the celebration at the park. Because of this
celebration, the Walters Homecoming Pow-wow was born.
Many families set up their camps at the park. Campsites could
be seen throughout the park. Old canvas tents and arbors adorned
the park. Camp fires would be burning with metal pots of food cooking.
Under the arbors you could see many W u t u raa ( a bed made
of wooden saw horses, plywood and a mattress), long tables with
wooden benches, some would even bring refrigerators. There would
be a table set up just for the water, some would have metal water
buckets with a dipper.
The women would be by the fire bending over cooking meat stirring
the pots of food. Each camp would invite visitors over during the
supper break to share a meal. It didnt matter who you were,
the campers would make sure that everyone had a meal at supper time.
Each family had a certain place they would camp every year and
to this day those same families still camp in the same spot. A person
who is knowledgeable about the pow-wow could be able to walk through
the park and tell exactly where certain families camp.
Vendors would set up around the arena, as to now days vendors
are set up along the road. The rows of chairs around the arena would
be at least six deep.
The kids would be playing around a certain cement circle that
still exist today. The circle is located on the Northwest side of
the arena. Those kids have grown up and now their grandchildren
play around that same circle. The use of that circle is unknown
The late Mr. Meja would always have his snow cone stand. He
had a old time ice shaver that he would scrape by hand and he only
had two flavors, grape and cherry.
Many people would not dance all year until Walters Pow-wow.
They would break out all their regalia and dance all weekend. The
temperature didnt seem to bother anyone. It would be over
100 degrees in the shade and still people would be out in the arena.
The late Elrod Crutch Monoessy would walk around
the arena with his metal water bucket making sure the dancers had
plenty of water. He would also have a water bucket for the drummers
making sure they had plenty of water also.
The atmosphere was pleasing. The dance wasnt a contest
pow-wow, folks came out to dance and enjoy themselves. It really
didnt matter how much prizes money there was for the contest,
and the giveaways didnt go on hours.
After the pow-wow families would go to other peoples tent and
drink coffee and visit.
The 49 (aka 9) would start after the pow-wow which is usually
the highlight of the pow-wow, the younger kids would have to go
to bed when this started. The 49 would go on all night. The older
folks would sit and watch the 49 and visit for a while before going
The men would stand in the middle of the arena hold a drum and
sing all night long. The women would either stand behind their man
or dance and sing. These songs are known as War Journey songs. Some
of these songs have some English words incorporated in them such
as, One Eyed-Ford, Give Me Five Minutes More,
When The Sun Goes Down At Night, That Kiss You
Gave Me, this is just a few of the English words in some of
Early in the morning before the flag is raised and the 49 is
over the kids that were up cleaned the arena. The kids were given
a large trash bag and they cleaned the whole arena. After the arena
was cleaned they did the Rabbit Dance. A singer would
come out to the arena and sing a certain Rabbit song. The kids would
hold their hands to the side of their heads, point there finger
up and jump up and down to the beat of the song. After the song
was over they were given candy or they got to go to Mr. Meja for
a grape or cherry snow cone.
The flag to be fl own was and is always of a deceased veteran,
which was raised by other veterans. The Comanche Flag song was sung,
while family members stood and watched as the flag of their family
member was raised.
Along the campsites you could smell wood burning or see women
building fire to start preparing breakfast.
People would gather at the arena to receive rations given to
each camp to help out with a meal. The rations would consist of
a large piece of meat, flour, eggs, bread and some canned food,
sometimes there would be some coffee and sugar.
On Sunday morning of the pow-wow there would be either a church
service or a Comanche Hymn singing.
Now days it has become more modern, instead of the old canvas
tents and arbors, you see more RV trailers or little pop-up tents.
You dont see any W u t u raa, you dont see many
people cooking on open fire. The children dont Rabbit Dance
The campsites are still there and the same families still camp
in the same spots, that is one thing that will never die.