INDIAN VILLAGE - The 48th Annual Alabama-Coushatta Powwow will begin Friday, June 3 near the Veteran’s Pavilion at the reservation on U.S. Highway 190 east of Livingston.
The event will span two days, opening to the public at 5 p.m. Friday and noon on Saturday.
“Because of the rain, we may move it to our Veteran’s Pavilion at the ballpark,” Alabama Coushatta Public Relations Manager Carlos Bullock said. “Looking at the weather, it’s going to be unpredictable this year.”
Visitors will have the opportunity to hear music, see dancing, and take in the colorful and customary dress of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.
“It is traditional regalia, the outfits that they wear,” Bullock said. “On each drumbeat, the dancers footwork has to match up to the beat of the drum. We are going to have people from all over the country coming out to this event. Dancing is open to anyone in the tribe, and anyone in a recognized tribe can dance in our competitions.
“People grow up within the powwow and we have tribal members who travel across the country in the summer to attend others. They are generally held in the summer, because that’s when people can generally travel. You will see different styles of dancing and we want people to come enjoy themselves and recognize our culture.” Bullock said there would be opportunities for the public to join the dancers and learn from the traditions displayed.
“This is the biggest event the tribe hosts and it’s open to the public,” Bullock said. “We do have tribal dances in which the public is welcome to dance. But, it is also a contest powwow, which means that the dancers are competing for prize money. It is a homecoming for our tribal members and we want to invite everyone out to celebrate the tradition and cultures with us.”
Proceedings are usually wrapped up around midnight on Friday, but Saturday depends on how long contests continue.
Food vendors will keep the crowds full with everything from Indian tacos to fajitas or funnel cakes. Patrons can also expect around 20 booths with handmade arts and crafts.
“We have a lot of arts and crafts vendors and this is probably the premier spot to get authentic Native American-made arts and crafts,” Bullock said. “We do not allow non-natives to sell at our event.”
Admission to the event is $7, with children aged three and under allowed access free of charge.
Campsites on the premises of the 4,500-acres reservation are available, as are cabins.
Campsites begin at $12 per night, while cabins start at $40. Lodging can be acquired by calling (936) 563-1221.
Recently retired Army sergeant Joseph Millet of Onalaska stands alone to salute fallen Private First Class Stuart W. Moore and the other soldiers memorialized along the front wall of the Livingston VFW building on Monday. Moore is the late son of Dennis Moore of Livingston, who was the guest speaker for the Livingston VFW's Memorial Day program. Stuart Moore was killed in Baghdad at the age of 21 when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. military convoy in 2003. (ENTERPRISE PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO)
LIVINGSTON – For many local veterans, Memorial Day brings back memories of friends and comrades who shared foxholes and fear as they fought across battlefields in Europe, Asia or the Middle East.
On Monday, special tributes ranging from services at the Livingston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post at 11 a.m. to a special flag raising ceremony at 9 a.m. will mark this year’s Memorial Day. The flag program, hosted by the Livingston Rotary Club and the City of Livingston, will include the raising of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Prisoner of War flags on newly constructed polls locate at the fountain pond at the intersection of U.S. 190 and U.S. 59 Loop.
One of the local veterans who will be remembering fallen comrades on Monday is Gordie H. “Bud” Robinett, 95, of Livingston.
A paratrooper with the elite 82nd Airborne Division during World War II, Robinett saw action in North Africa, Sicily and Italy before jumping into France as part of the airborne D-Day contingent on June 6, 1944
Born Nov. 2, 1921, in Livingston, the son of Jay and Mettie Robinett, he attended Onalaska schools until the eighth grade. His family of six were raised as farmers.
In 1940, Robinett decided to join the U.S. Army, initially as part of the cavalry but soon transferred to become a paratrooper. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).
After completing training, Robinett and his fellow paratroopers were sent to Camp Shanks, the port of embarkation in New York and were immediately loaded onto transports and shipped to Casablanca in North Africa. While there, he and his unit made numerous parachute jumps behind enemy lines with the goal of cutting off the retreating German forces who were at that point trying to flee from Africa.
During those missions, the paratroopers cut supply and communication lines to help pave the way for the ground troops as they engaged units of the German “Afrika Korps.”
When U.S. and British forces launched the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, Robinett jumped into that battleground and remained there until that island was captured.
In January 1944, his unit landed on the beach at Anzio in Italy where they were ordered to knock out big German guns that were aimed at the beach. The unit took part in heavy combat along the Mussolini Canal and Robinett recalled that the cost in lives was immense. It was the 504th PIR’s fierce fighting that earned the unit the nickname
“Devils in Baggy Pants,” which was taken from an entry in a German officer’s diary.
Throughout this fighting, he made 57 jumps often working as a sniper who was sent behind enemy lines to engage German officers. He then had to return to American lines on his own.
While fighting in France following D-Day, Robinett was wounded near Bastogne, Belgium. He was hit in the left thigh by a piece of shrapnel but due to the intensity of the fighting in the freezing cold weather he could not receive medical attention for three to four hours.
The wound became infected and extensive surgery was subsequently required. Initially, he was treated in a field hospital in North Africa and later transferred to a hospital in Temple, Texas where he remained until he was discharged in 1944.
During the war, two of his bothers, Audry and Pergie Robinett were killed.
After he returned to Polk County, he worked as a welder for 35 years and today he owns and operates his craft shop on Highway 146 where he builds a variety of wooden craft items.
He married Hazel Cotton in 1950 and they remained together until her death in 2004. He has three daughters, Shirley, Pat and Terrie, as well as eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Volunteers gathered Saturday in Onalaska for the Come Clean Lake Livingston event in which they collected trash from the lake’s shoreline. As part of the event, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials provided educational exhibits for the volunteers to enjoy. Pictured top, a student volunteers gets to examine an alligator under the direction of TPWD biologist Chris Gregory. Second photo: TPWD Ranger Joel Janssen and a summer intern use equipment to look at sun spots.