Native Americans have been an integral component of the Pendleton Round-Up since its inception. Members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation – the Umatilla, Cayuse, and Walla Walla Indians who live eight miles east of Pendleton -host a grand tribal village that annually includes more than 300 teepees. Indians from around the Northwest travel to Pendleton where they gather in the village to visit with friends and relatives, take part in the Happy Canyon Pageant and dance in the arena during rodeo matinees.
Additionally, the Round-Up serves as the forum for two Indian beauty contests – the American Indian Beauty Contest, which is held Friday morning prior to the Westward Ho! parade on Main Street in Pendleton, and the Junior Indian Beauty Contest, held Thursday morning at the Roy Raley Park adjacent to the Round-Up grounds. Another key event during the week is a Round-Up Pow Wow dance competition, which occurs at 9 am on Saturday in the Round-Up arena.
Not to be missed are the Indian Vendors who assemble in Roy Raley Park for Round-Up week to display and sell a wide variety of Native American Arts and Craft items, including beautiful silver jewelry and Indian beadwork. Indian fry-bread and tacos are a treat to enjoy when you visit the Native American vendors in this area.