The 26th Annual Nez Perce Tamkaliks Celebration & Friendship Potluck will be held July 22, 23, 24, 2016 in Wallowa, Oregon.
The Tamkaliks Celebration (formerly Wallowa Band Descendants Friendship Potluck & Powwow) is a celebration and recognition of the continuing Nez Perce presence in the Wallowa Valley. A standing committee of the WBNPTIC, Inc. oversees and organizes the Tamkaliks Celebration. The Tamkaliks Committee President is Brian Conner. He may be reached through the WBNPTIC, Inc. office.
The Tamkaliks story is best told in the words of one of the original organizers, Terry Crenshaw:
"In 1990 Taz Conner, a descendant of Old Chief Joseph, Tuekakas, was invited by the City of Wallowa to help them plan some kind of Native American festival in Wallowa. It was decided that a friendship potluck and powwow would be the most appropriate event. Since that time, a group of ten to fifteen local volunteers have met, planned, and worked nearly year-round to conduct the event. During the powwow and potluck, about forty to fifty local people and ten to twelve Native Americans help in putting it on.
Our first year, 1990, we held our powwow in the high school gym and the potluck on the school grounds. We had about fifty participants and all felt it was a great success. By the third year we had to move to a five acre site and set up our powwow and feast outside because it had grown too large for the gym.
In 1998 the Wallowa Band Nez Perce Pow Wow and Friendship Potluck was renamed Tamkaliks (from where you can see the mountains) and moved to the new Wallowa Band Nez Perce Trail Interpretive Center prospective site at the edge of the city of Wallowa.
Tamkaliks is a three day celebration of traditional Native American culture. It is also a place and time where local people can observe and learn about that culture and develop a bridge of friendship between the former and present inhabitants of the Wallowa County. For three days we have traditional Native American songs and dances. The traditional wear of the dancers is spectacular. Outside the dance area we have 20-25 concessionaires selling food, Native American crafts and other items. Along the river the participants camp during the powwow, many setting up teepees. The sight of teepees along the river after many years' absence is awe inspiring.
On the last day of the festival, we have the friendship potluck. The Native American community provides salmon, deer and elk, a local rancher provides buffalo and locals bring pot luck dishes. For the deer and elk a group of Indians come early and exercise their treaty rights by hunting for the game for the feast. A local committee prepares the fish and game.
At last years feast we fed over 600 people. We have speeches, songs, and prayers at the feast. As time goes on we have had more and more contact between the locals and Indians and we are beginning to see true friendships form because of this event with each year garnering greater attendance and support.