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Samoan Fire Knife Dancers to perform

10 July 2012

BISMARCK (UTN) – Dancers twirling sharp knives that are on fire will be part of the 2012 United Tribes International Powwow. A group of Samoan fire knife dancers are the featured cultural group of the annual event set for September 6-9, the weekend after Labor Day, on the campus of United Tribes Technical College.

The fire dance brings Polynesian culture into the mix of Native American tribal music and dance during the powwow, now celebrating its 43rd year. Providing the action are tribal dancers and drum groups gathered in Lone Star Arena, the college’s dance arbor. Upwards of 1,000 participants compete for over $80,000 in prize money.

Spectators from the community, around the country and abroad are welcomed to the circle to share the traditions of one of North Dakota’s premier cultural events.

The powwow begins with the first Grand Entry at Lone Star Arena, in the center of campus, on Thursday, September 6 at 7 p.m. Subsequent Grand Entries are held Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Central Time), and Sunday at 12 noon. A $20 entrance fee guarantees admission to all dance and drum competitions for the four days. Daily admission is $12. Seniors (65 and over) and children (5 and under) enter free. Group rates (10 or more) contact Ella Duran 701-255-3285 x 1214, eduran@uttc.edu.

2011 United Tribes International Powwow

Camping space is available free of charge in designated locations on the United Tribes campus; round-the-clock security provided and access to facilities. No drugs or alcohol allowed and no pets.

Known as “Home of the Champions,” the United Tribes International Powwow is the season’s last, large outdoor event on the northern Great Plains powwow circuit. Cash, jackets and medals are awarded to the dance and drum contest champions. Day money provided for drums and tiny tot dancers. Awards are announced early Sunday evening, September 9, following a free buffalo meal sponsored by the Standing Rock Tribe, one of the college’s governing tribes.

poster artUnited Tribes features artwork by the late Alden Archambault on the 2012 powwow poster. It is a watercolor of a fancy dancer in a circular design. He lived in the Bear Soldier Community at McLaughlin, South Dakota and was an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Tribe.

Archambault was a professional artist who, in addition to drawing and painting, was proficient in a variety of cultural forms: beadwork, quillwork and leather. His formal education was at Eastern Montana College, Billings, MT, where he majored in art and minored in history. His studies included drawing, oil painting and sculpture along with watercolor and print making. He passed into the spirit world in 2005.

During his 20 year career he won many juried shows across the northern plains and received commissions for private and corporate collections. He was especially honored to have a piece selected for the United Tribes International Powwow poster, which occurred in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2006. All are part of the United Tribes collection of American Indian art.

For 2012, the United Tribes presents “Tafiti Samoan Fire Knife Dancers” as the featured indigenous cultural group of the powwow. Knife dancing goes back generations in Samoan culture. Originally it was a pre-battle ritual to psych-up a warrior and intimidate the enemy. The lethal implement was the warrior’s knife, called the “tooth of death.” The Fire Knife is now a traditional cultural implement, used in ceremonial dances. A machete is wrapped in fire on both ends, the middle of the blade exposed. Dancers twirl the knife and execute perilous acrobatic maneuvers. The group is led by Kap Tafiti, known as Kap the Magic Man, a world-class “edutainer,” who brings Polynesian culture to life.

Fire knife performances are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, September 7 and 8 and at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 9 in Lone Star Arena. The group will also perform during Youth Day at 10 a.m. Friday, September 7 and will appear in the powwow grand entries and the Parade of Champions.

The Tafiti Samoan Fire Knife Dancers visit to Bismarck is made possible with major support from Tesoro Mandan Refinery, Westcon Industries, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Image Printing, Advanced Business Methods, Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, Community Blessings Thrift Store, Theodore Jamerson Elementary School, Tribal Leaders Summit, and United Tribes Technical College.

Samoan Fire Knife dancer Kap Tafiti

Playing a central role in every powwow are those who answered the call to duty. Military veterans and active duty personnel continue their service by presenting and posting the Colors.

A color guard from the Seminole Tribe of Florida will join with other groups in the 2012 honor. Known as the “Seminole Tribe Veteran Memorial Initiative Color Guard,” the four-member team is leading a national effort to bring greater recognition to Native Veterans. The group is working to add the sculpture of a Native soldier to the “Three Servicemen” statue in Washington, D.C. that depicts African Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians serving in Vietnam but not Native Americans. The group recently presented the Colors on Memorial Day during President Barack Obama’s visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Another color guard will be three female soldiers, representing the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Navajo tribal nations. The group, “Native American Women Warriors,” formed in 2010, is thought to be the first all-female, Native American color guard. Wearing distinctive tribal and military regalia, they are scheduled to perform their duties in the powwow grand entries, the “Parade of Champions,” and during the Miss Indian Nations pageant.

Contact: Sharon Clairmont , 701-255-3285 x 1499, sclairmont@uttc.edu; www.uttc.edu.

Surrounding the dance arbor is a ring of powwow circuit vendors, creating a lively atmosphere and catering to the needs of tribal artisans and smart shoppers. Everything can be found from hides and antlers, to beads, finished clothing, bumper and window stickers and powwow collectibles. A food court presents a wide variety, from oriental and barbeque cuisine to the ever-popular ‘Indian Taco.’

Contact: Red Koch, 701-255-3285 x 1301, rkoch@uttc.edu; vendor applications online: www.uttc.edu.

The deadline is August 31 for Young American Indian women, who know their culture, to enter the Miss Indian Nations scholarship pageant. Judging takes place September 5 to 8 during the powwow in the James Henry Community Gymnasium. Eligible are single, non-parent American Indian women age 17 to 26 who can demonstrate their command of tribal values, customs and teachings. The “Native American Women Warriors” Color Guard will be featured at the pageant.

Contact: Sharon Clairmont , 701-255-3285 x 1499, sclairmont@uttc.edu; www.uttc.edu.

School classes and groups are invited to Youth Day at the Powwow. It is a music and cultural event that entertains. Included are presentations, music, dancing, and audience participation, and a performance by the powwow’s featured cultural group. Youth Day begins at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 7 and runs through the morning. School groups are admitted free. A special invitation has been extended to all fourth grade classes to attend. The Bismarck School District joins United Tribes as a major sponsor.

Contact: Olivia Tuske–Reese, 701-255-3285 x 1409, tuskeolivia@uttc.edu.

The United Tribes “Parade of Champions,” is scheduled for Saturday, September 8 through downtown Bismarck, featuring dancers, singers, tribal groups attending the powwow, tribal leaders, and groups from the community. Cash prizes are awarded in four categories of judging.

Contact: Star Silk, 701-255-3285 x 1244, ssilk@uttc.edu.

The Parade of Champions goes through downtown Bismarck

The Sixteenth Annual Tribal Leaders Summit takes place September 5-7 at the Bismarck Civic Center. Tribal, federal and state officials discuss important Indian Country issues and share ideas; also includes a trade fair.

The North Dakota National Guard is scheduled to land two namesake UH-72 “Lakota” helicopters on the United Tribes campus Tuesday, September 4, for a dedication and naming ceremony. The aircraft will be on display as part of a program beginning at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend the event, along with those attending the summit and those preparing for the powwow. Refreshments will be served.

Summit Contact: Tiffany Hodge, 701-255-3285 x 1482, thodge@uttc.edu.

Sports are included at the powwow. A benefit golf tournament, “Teeing Off for Academic Excellence,” is set for Friday, September 7 at Apple Creek Country Club. A double elimination softball tournament for women and men teams is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 8-9. Winning teams earn jackets; special awards are presented. A Three-On-Three basketball tournament is scheduled for students in the grades, middle school and high school. And a 10K and 5K run/walk is hosted for runners and walkers of all ages.

Golf: Brad Hawk 701-255-3285 x 1387, bhawk@uttc.edu.
Softball: Debbie Painte: 701-255-3285 x 1232, dpainte@uttc.edu.
Basketball: Kevin Rice, 701-255-3285 x 1895, krice@uttc.edu.
Run/Walk: Kevin Rice, 701-255-3285 x 1895, krice@uttc.edu.

United Tribes honors you with the cultural tradition of a buffalo feed Sunday, September 9. All dancers, singers and visitors are invited free of charge. Serving takes place in the mid-to-late afternoon outside the United Tribes Cafeteria; serving time is announced.

Masters of Ceremonies: Dale Old Horn and Jerry Dearly. Arena Director: Rusty Gillette. Head Singing Judge: Reuben Crow Feather. Head Men’s Dance Judge: Avery Thompson. Head Women’s Dance Judge: Cody High Elk. Ground Blessing: Jerry Dearly.

Members of the powwow executive committee are: David M. Gipp, College President; Julie Cain, Chair/Cultural Advisor; Ella Duran, Treasurer; Deb Painte, Secretary; Charisse Fandrich, Fundraising. The powwow committee has selected “Beat Of Our Nations” as the overall theme for the 2012 powwow and related events.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa

Website: www.uttc.edu.
Powwow Info: Sandy Erickson, serickson@uttc.edu, 701-255-3285 x 1293
Media: Dennis J. Neumann, opi@uttc.edu, 701-255-3285 x 1386
Hotel/Motel Info: www.discoverbismarckmandan.com


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