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Fort Bidwell celebrates Native American culture
Leticia Castillo of Alturas participates in the womens fancy shawl dance competition last weekend at the Nanuwa Celebration in Fort Bidwell.

FORT BIDWELL — Drumming, dancing, and family fun were the highlights of the Nanuwa Celebration, or "Family Celebration," held on the Fort Bidwell Tribal reservation last weekend.

Dancers from all over the United States participated in the two-day powwow, while spectators watched from the shaded arbors surrounding the arena.

Although the competition was tough, several local dancers did exceptionally well.

Leticia Castillo won first place in the womens fancy dance category.

Placing high in the dance competitions were: Madeline Arredondo, junior fancy dance; Dulce Cortez, junior jingle dance; Merle Weeks, boys traditional dance; and Irvin Wilso in traditional dance.

In the pre-teen categories, a group composed of dancers ages 1 to 6, locals Chenel Jimenez, Selena Cortez, Talia Townsend, and Jessica Cortez won $100 for their efforts.

All children ages 6 and under, who competed in the dancing, were given T-shirts.

Judy Trejo, an Indian Grammy award winner, sang during the festivities.

Vendors sold food items, art work, and beading supplies.

"I really want to thank the participants and spectators who came from all over to help make this event a success," said Cara Bussell, organizer of the celebration.

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Correspondent Jean Bilodeaux covers Surprise Valley. She can be reached at (530) 279-2031, or at P.O. Box 5, Cedarville, CA 96104, or by sending a e-mail to