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UTTC Powwow included in top 100 event list
4 June 2003

BISMARCK, ND - The United Tribes International Powwow is on the short list of events promoted by Event Crazy-dot-Com. In its 34th year, the powwow is included in the company's website list of "Top 100 Events" in the country for 2003. The powwow was selected from over 100,000 events in an annual directory, published for the past 20 years.

      Over 25,000 people are expected for this year's four-day powwow scheduled for September 4 - 7. More people attend the powwow than any other annual event held in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

      "We're very pleased to be listed among the nation's top events," said UTTC President David M. Gipp. "It helps us extend our welcome to people of all backgrounds from around the region and all over the world."

      Since it began in 1969, the powwow revolves around dancers in full tribal regalia who showcase their cultural heritage and talent to the beat of American Indian traditional music. As many as 50 drum groups and over 1,000 dancers compete for $62,000 in prize money. Dancing in the two-dozen dance categories will be seniors, adults, teens, juniors, and little boys and girls. Special categories include men's chicken dance, Southern men's straight, Southern women's buckskin/cloth, and team dance. The first 25 drums will share $15,000 in drum payments for their entertainment and hard work. Tiny tot dancers will earn day money for the joy they bring in seeing traditions continue.

      Participants and visitors from around the world pitch camp in Tipis, tents and campers on the 105-acre campus in south Bismarck, turning United Tribes Technical College into a colorful and exciting village reminiscent of historic summer tribal gatherings on the Great Plains.

      "It's a true cultural experience for visiting guests, tour groups, school children and local residents," said Gipp. "It's not a re-enactment, it's a glimpse at some of the rich traditions that are still alive in American Indian culture."

      American Indian arts and crafts vendors, who travel the powwow circuit, ring the dance arbor, forming a lively market place for those seeking economical buys on authentic supplies and artistic works. A food court caters to a wide range of tastes from the ever-popular "Indian Taco" and fresh squeezed lemonade to standard cuisine.

      Powwow events begin with the first Grand Entry of dancers at Lone Star Arena, the college powwow grounds, on Thursday, September 4 at 7 p.m. Additional Grand Entries are held Friday through Sunday promptly at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Central Time). The powwow concludes with awards for champion dancers and drum groups on Sunday evening, September 7.

      A $15 event bracelet guarantees admission to all dance and drum competitions for the entire four days. Daily admission is $7. Reduced fees are available for elders and children age six to 12. Children five and under enter free.

      Since it began in 1969, numerous other activities and events have been weaved into the excitement of powwow week. The annual double elimination softball tournament, September 6 - 7, is divided into men's and women's divisions. Jackets and special awards go to the winning teams. $10,000 in prize money awaits winners in a new team competition, the Second Annual International Moccasin Tournament. The event is a spirited hand game involving memory and slight of hand where participants cover a bead or similar object with a leather mat representing a moccasin. The game is enjoying a national revival.

      School-aged youngsters are warmly invited to attend United Tribes Youth Day on Friday, September 5. Activities include cultural talks, contemporary and traditional entertainment, and participatory activities. The Jackie Bird Family, of Brookings, SD, will lead youngsters in hoop dancing and sign language demonstrations, and will perform a Native American puppet show. Performing the Native American flute is UTTC student John Pepion. Over 1,500 young people from Bismarck-Mandan, surrounding towns and outlying reservation communities are expected to attend.

      Adding grace to powwow week is the twelfth annual Miss Indian Nations Pageant, a scholarship based program for single, non-parent American Indian women age 17 to 26. Young women from tribes around the country demonstrate their command of tribal values, customs and teachings. Contestants are featured Saturday, September 6 in the "United Tribes Parade of Champions," a mid-morning parade through the heart of downtown Bismarck, which has become popular with city residents. After the new Miss Indian Nations is crowned, she is received and honored during the powwow Saturday evening. Over the following year she serves as ambassador, conveying American Indian traditions, hospitality and interests to Indian and non-Indian audiences around the world.

      Leading up to the International Powwow this year is the Seventh Annual Intertribal Council Summit meeting of tribal leaders September 2 - 4. Attended by tribal leaders from across the region, council meetings feature special guests with national reputations and responsibilities and offer a chance to discuss vital issues, such as tribal rights and economic development.

      Visitors to the United Tribes International Powwow are urged to make lodging arrangements early because Bismarck-Mandan hotels and motels fill up entirely, causing some visitors to stay in nearby communities up to 50 miles away. As testament to the size of the event, a recent study revealed the powwow and associated events generate $3.3 million worth of economic activity in the area.

      A previously scheduled and advertised cultural group was forced to cancel its participation at the powwow this year. The Taiwan Aboriginal Cultural Group will not be able to visit Bismarck because of travel restrictions in Pacific countries due to the SARS outbreak. The UTTC Powwow Committee expects to announce at a later date the participation of another cultural group.

      To obtain a powwow poster or for more information about the powwow or associated events call 701-255-3285 ext. 1293, FAX 701-530-0633, or visit www.uttc.edu or www.unitedtribespowwow.com on the World Wide Web.


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