United Tribes News
Champions named at ‘Tribes’ Powwow
13 September 2010
BISMARCK (UTN) - An honoring ceremony in the powwow dance arbor for a Congressional “Champion of Indian Affairs” highlighted the 41st Annual United Tribes International Powwow.
A traditional Buffalo Ceremony was conducted for North Dakota U. S. Senator Byron L. Dorgan, who retires from the Senate later this year.
Dorgan has been in the Congress for nearly 30 years. During the last 11, he served on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the last three as its chairman. In January, he announced he would not run for re-election to Senate.
“This man has been a major champion for us,” said David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president. “Today we honor him for his strong commitment and leadership, throughout his career, on issues important to American Indians.”
Dorgan was praised for his record of accomplishment. His work includes legislation addressing youth suicides and diabetes research; passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act as part of national health care reform; legislation and funding for tribal higher education, including United Tribes Technical College; legislation to improve tribal economic development and housing; and a major initiative to improve public safety in the Tribal Law and Order Act.
Tribal leaders on the United Tribes governing board accompanied Dorgan around the arena to receive greetings from well-wishers following the ceremony.
In the dancing and singing competition, the drum group Battle River, Redby, MN, won the singing contest, followed in order by: Dry Lake, Iron Boy, Young Kingbird and Yellow Face.
Twenty-six drums rendered their best songs for 609 dancers, who participated in six grand entries, intertribal dances and dance competitions.
Light rain visited on days one and two but gave way to sunny skies and comfortable temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s for the remainder of the four day event September 9-12. Those encamped around Lone Star Arena were treated to overnight temps in the 40s.
Dancers and singers were joined by tribal groups and politicians in the annual United Tribes “Parade of Champions” through downtown Bismarck. The featured cultural group, the Haudenosaunee Native Smoke Dancers, appeared in the parade and presented song and dance demonstrations in the powwow dance arbor and for school children.
Evereta Thinn (Dine’), from the Navajo Nation, Shonto, AZ, was selected as the 18th Miss Indian Nations. About 8,000 people crowded around and into the powwow dance arbor to see her and other events of Saturday evening, the powwow’s biggest night.
Almost as many people checked out the Saturday evening program via the internet. Over 5,000 used their computers to access some part of a four hour powwow webcast produced by Media Arts students and staff in the college’s Art/Art Marketing Program. The Native-owned media company, My Tribe TV, streamed the dancing, singing and announcing live from the powwow arena. Viewers watched in 14 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Mexico, and 38 states, including 759 in North Dakota and 378 in neighboring Minnesota.
Spectators in the dance arbor included 50 visitors from Norway on a bus tour. The United Tribes International Powwow has been named one of the “Top 100 Events of 2011” by the American Bus Association.
Fifty-six volunteers, including college cafeteria staff members, college staffers and other volunteers, served a free buffalo meal Sunday for over 3,000 visitors, singers and dancers. Five-hundred pounds of buffalo meat were donated by Spirit Lake, a governing tribe of the college.
The “Home of the Champions” powwow head staff were: Announcers Corky Old Horn, MT, and Jim Clairmont, MN; Arena Director Rusty Gillette, VA; Head Singing Judge Greg Holy Bull, SD; Head Men’s Dance Judge Tommy Christian, MT; and Head Women’s Dance Judge Alice Phelps, SD. Marcel Bull Bear, Kyle , SD, provided the ground blessing for Lone Star Arena at the outset of the event.
All first place dance category and singing contest winners received a jacket with the 41st anniversary powwow logo showing the artwork of the late Zachary Big Shield Jr. of Standing Rock, a medal and cash. Second through fifth place winners received cash and medals.
The United Tribes Powwow Committee thanks all powwow participants and spectators for making the 41st annual event a success. The committee also expresses its sincere appreciation to companies and individuals in the Bismarck-Mandan community for sponsoring the competitive categories and supporting the powwow and associated events.