Arlee, 15 miles south of St. Ignatius  on Highway 93, is the site of the Fourth of July Powwow, held annually by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. It’s a major event, not to be missed if you’re anywhere in the area at the time. Expect to see both traditional and fancy dancing to the accompaniment of amazing drumming. Groups of drummers, as well as individual dancers, compete for prize money.
In another area of the powwow, the sounds of hand drums signal stick games, which are ritualistic and high-stakes gambling competitions. For those not up to the complications and $100 ante of a stick game, poker and blackjack games are set up in small shacks.
Jewelry, crafts, and cassette tapes of popular drum groups are for sale at several booths. There’s also plenty of food, including fry bread and “Indian tacos.”
The powwow grounds are the site of an encampment during this long weekend. Tepees, tents, and campers crowd into the dusty field, and the celebration goes on late into the night.
The powwow grounds are right in Arlee, just east of Highway 93.
Admission is free, non-Indians are welcome, and drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited.