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Photo of Plains Indians in the parade
Bill and Tom Ware, members of a Plains Indian tribe, march in the 1997 Anadarko Indian Exposition parade

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The American Indian Exposition in Anadarko, Oklahoma
A Local Legacy

Every year in August hundreds of Native American people from all different tribes come to the city of Anadarko, Oklahoma. Named after a Plains Indian tribe, Anadarko is now the home of one of the largest gatherings of Plains Indians in Oklahoma. Because so many Plains Indian populations have lived in Anadarko, it is known as the "Indian Capital of the Nation."

This gathering of Native Americans is called the American Indian Exposition. An exposition is a public exhibition or show. The purpose of this exposition is to show off Native American arts and crafts and help preserve their cultural heritage. The Native Americans who attend sometimes camp out in traditional teepees and they may wear traditional leather clothing, called buckskin. Lots of people who are not Native Americans come to observe Indian culture; they watch the parades or greyhound and horse racing, or they attend one of the many dances or contests that are held.

Several months before the exposition, each tribe selects a tribal princess who will represent them for a year. A tribal princess is smart and strong. She must also possess a fine personality, be self-confident, and have other qualities that make her a leader. During the exposition, the princesses have the honor of leading their tribes in the parades that begin and end the festivities.

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