Sobriety Powwow: A New Year's Eve Tradition In Tulsa

Tuesday, December 31st 2013, 6:08 pm
By: Tess Maune

The clock had barely struck noon on Tuesday, but a New Year's Eve tradition was already in full swing in Tulsa.

It's called a Sobriety Powwow.

"It's a special thing; a Powwow's a special thing," said Lorraine Bosin, the Sobriety Powwow Organizer.

Rooted in tradition and surrounded with culture, it's not only a special place, but a sacred place.

"With dancing and singing and the drum is very special," said Bosin. "Have a lot of respect for the drum and this arena is a special place to be.

Bosin, is continuing the idea her late husband, Niles, came up with.

"It started in a little gymnasium in Tulsa, so many came, we couldn't all fit in the gymnasium, so the next year they had it here at the convention center and it's been here ever since," Bosin said.

That was 13 years ago.

Now, Bosin and the eight-member group, Friends of Sobriety, carry on the tradition and the beliefs they share.

"We've got to have a place for people to come, who don't drink and do drugs," said Bosin. "Drug and alcohol abuse, it's bad news. It doesn't lead to anything good. And we want to try to promote that. If we can help just one person here today try to overcome problems, that's good for me."

According to Bosin, about 50 tribes are represented, and as many as 3,000 people will ring in 2014 at the ceremony.

"We have visitors from all over," Bosin said. "From California, Florida, Wisconsin, all over the United States."

The powwow has something for everyone, of every age. Except, of course, alcohol and drugs.

Anyone can join in on the dancing and singing, or you can just sit back and enjoy the show.

Randy Webb, a Muscogee Creek Tribe member said, "It's just a chance for people to see the Indian ways and for us to get together and commune."

To end the night, there won't be a ball dropping from a tall building.

Instead, Webb says there will be a special cedar ceremony to cleanse away negative energy to start the New Year with a clean slate.

"While others are raising their glasses to bring in the New Year," Webb said, "we're raising the feathers and the smoke to bring in the New Year."

There are dance and dress contests all evening.

There are also vendors set up selling handmade jewelry, blankets, and more.

I'm also told the grand entrance, which starts at 7:00 p.m., is something you don't want to miss.

Webb will be live streaming the entire ceremony online at