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Powwow focus is tribal culture
26 July 2010

BISMARCK (UTN) - “Protecting Our Culture” is the theme of the 41st Annual United Tribes International Powwow. Tribal culture flourishes when champion dancers and drum groups gather September 9-12 in Bismarck, the weekend after Labor Day, on the campus of United Tribes Technical College.

      ‘Tribes’ is the last of the large outdoor powwows of the summer season on the northern Great Plains. Upwards of 1,000 dancers, and more than two dozen drum groups compete for prize money in the college’s dance arbor.

Smoke Dancers

      Drum rhythms and soaring vocals provide a powerful soundtrack, filling the air with respect for culture and inspiring participants to follow the beat with nimble footwork, graceful moves and physical endurance.

      This year’s event features a Native flute music contest and a visiting group of Smoke Dancers from the Seneca, Mohawk and Oneida Nations.

      Spectators from all backgrounds are welcomed to join the circle – from the community, around the country and abroad – 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 9 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 11 a.m. A $20 entrance fee guarantees admission to all dance and drum competitions for the entire four days. Daily admission is $12.  Seniors (65 and over) and children (5 and under) enter free. For special group rates (10 or more) contact Ella Duran 701-255-3285 x 1214, eduran@uttc.edu.

      Free camping is available on the United Tribes campus, with round-the-clock security and access to facilities. No drugs or alcohol allowed and no pets.


      Known as “Home of the Champions,” the United Tribes International Powwow offers over $84,000 in prize money. Awards for champion dancers and drum groups are announced early Sunday evening, September 12, following a free buffalo meal for all dancers, singers and visitors. First place winners receive Jackets, gold medals and cash. Second through fifth place winners receive medals and cash. The first 25 drums are paid; tiny tot dancers earn day money.

POWWOW DESIGN: The art work, “Protecting Our Culture,” by the late Zachary Big Shield Jr., is the image on the 2010 United Tribes International Powwow poster. The work will adorn wearable and collectible items for sale at the event.


      The artwork “Protecting our culture,” by the late Zachary Big Shield Jr. is featured on the United Tribes 2010 powwow poster. The image depicts a drum group and color guard in the dance arbor, protected by the wings of an eagle.

      Big Shield Jr. was a member of the Standing Rock Tribe and self-taught artist. He was employed at United Tribes as a staff artist in the Office of Public Information and his work appeared regularly in United Tribes News. His promising career abruptly ended in a car crash on New Year’s Day 1981. He was 20 years old.

      Big Shield Jr. is fondly remembered in the poster artwork that will adorn wearable and collectible items of the 41st anniversary event. The original, along with some of his other works, are part of the United Tribes collection of American Indian art.


      The 2010 featured cultural performers are the Haudenosauee Native Smoke Dancers from the eastern woodlands of the United States. Recently introduced to the powwow circuit, this group includes members from the Seneca, Mohawk and Oneida Nations. Their up-tempo songs that encourage complex footwork and movement, and distinctive regalia, bring a new and different display of culture to the plains.

      Smoke Dancer performances are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, September 10 and 11 and a 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 12 in Lone Star Arena. The group will also perform during Youth Day on Friday morning, September 10 and will appear in the powwow grand entries and the Parade of Champions.


      Keith Bear (Mandan/Hidatsa), renowned Native flute maker, musician and story teller, will host a Native flute music contest Saturday and Sunday, September 11-12. Native musicians will perform at 3 p.m. following grand entry in this first time event for the powwow. Star quilts, a handmade flute, and $2,000 in prize money await the winners. More information: Keith Bear, 701-421-0304, keithbearflutemusic@yahoo.com.


      Vendors who follow the powwow circuit form an outer ring of busy activity around the arbor, 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. The powwow food court offers a wide variety, from Oriental cuisine to the ever-popular ‘Indian Taco.’ More information: Red Koch, 701-255-3285 x 1301, rkoch@uttc.edu.


      Young American Indian women who know their culture are invited to participate in the Miss Indian Nations scholarship pageant. The 19th annual event is set for September 8 to 11 during the powwow. The event is a scholarship program for single, non-parent American Indian women between age 17 and 25 who can demonstrate their command of tribal values, customs and teachings. More information: Sharon Clairmont , 701-255-3285 x 1499, sclairmont@uttc.edu.


      School classes and groups are invited to Youth Day at the Powwow. The music and cultural event is a learning opportunity. Included are presentations, music, dancing, and a performance by the powwow’s featured cultural group. Youth Day begins at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 10 and runs through the morning. School groups are admitted free of charge. More information: Melanie Red Water, 701-255-3285 x 1543, mredwater@uttc.edu.


      The United Tribes “Parade of Champions,” is scheduled for Saturday, September 11 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. More information: Michelle Fox, 701-255-3285 x 1355, mfox@uttc.edu or Star Silk, 701-255-3285 x 1269, ssilk@uttc.edu.


      The fourteenth annual United Tribes Tribal Leaders Summit takes place September 8-10  at the Bismarck Civic Center. Tribal, federal and state officials discuss current Indian Country issues and attend a trade fair. More information: Tiffany Hodge, 701-255-3285 x 1482, thodge@uttc.edu


      Two sporting events associated with the powwow are a benefit golf tournament on Friday, September 10 at Apple Creek Country Club and a softball tournament, September 11-12, for both women and men. Winning teams earn jackets and special awards are presented.

      “Teeing Off for Academic Excellence” information: Brad Hawk 701-255-3285 x 1387, bhawk@uttc.edu. Softball tournament information: Debbie Painte: 701-255-3285 x 1232, dpainte@uttc.edu


      United Tribes honors you with the cultural tradition of a buffalo feed Sunday, September 11. All dancers, singers and visitors are invited free of charge. Serving takes place in the mid-to-late afternoon outside the United Tribes Cafeteria and will be announced.


      Masters of Ceremonies: Jim Clairmont (Rosebud) and Corky Old Horn (Crow Agency). Arena Director: Rusty Gillette (Three Affiliated). Head Singing Judge: Greg Holy Bull (Cheyenne River). Head Men’s Dance Judge: Tommy Christian (Ft. Peck Sioux-Assiniboine). Head Women’s Dance Judge: Alice Phelps (Oglala Tribe). Ground Blessing: Marcel Bull Bear (Oglala Tribe).


      David M. Gipp, College President; Dr. Harriett Skye, Adviser; Tom Red Bird, Co-Chair; Bernadette Dauenhauer, Co-Chair; Debbie Painte, Secretary; Ella Duran, Sharon Clairmont, Sandy Erickson, Red Koch, James Red Tomahawk, Tiffany Hodge, Bud Anderson, Renee Becker, Jess Simpson, Tammy Klein, Ruth Buffalo-Zarazua, and LeRoi Laundreaux.


      For more information about the powwow and associated events contact Sandy Erickson, serickson@uttc.edu, 701-255-3285 x 1293, FAX 701-530-0633, or visit www.unitedtribespowwow.com.


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