United Tribes News9/11 anniversary observed at United Tribes Powwow
12 September 2011
BISMARCK (UTN) - Honor songs, gun salutes, a special flag and reverence for the fallen were part of the observance of the “National Day of Service and Remembrance” on Sunday, September 11 during the United Tribes International Powwow.
Ceremonies in the dance arbor on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 honored civilians and military personnel who lost their lives in the attacks and those who served in the military since.
The highlight was the unfolding and display of a U. S. Flag that was flying over the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City when the buildings were destroyed.
“We appreciate the opportunity to have this flag on our campus,” said David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president, a military veteran who helped unfold the 15 by 20 foot banner and carry it around the powwow dance arbor during an honor song.
“As we opened up this flag, I could smell the smoke and the dust,” said Gipp speaking to the powwow audience. “The memory of that event that took place 10 years ago is fresh yet on this flag.”
Gipp was in New York City only a few weeks following the attack. He said he remembers the smell of smoke and dust in lower Manhattan, “and unfortunately, the smell of death.”
“Today the country is memorializing those who lost their lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania,” he said. “We are honored to join in by witnessing the display of this flag here in Bismarck. It’s a sad occasion but one that reminds us of the freedom we have to gather here in peace and harmony.”
The large stars and stripes was one of three flags flying over the Twin Towers on 9/11, according to the Cheyenne River Veterans Association, the group that brought the flag. A replica flag was gifted to United Tribes.
Cheyenne River Veterans continue to remember and honor two members of their tribe killed in the country’s war on terrorism since 9/11. PFC Sheldon R. Hawk Eagle, US Army, died in 2003 and CPL Tanner J. O’Leary, US Army, died in 2007. Cheyenne River Veterans have also participated in the honoring or last military rites for three other fallen comrades: SP4 Lori Piestewa (Hopi), US Army, 2003; CPL Brett L. Lundstrom (Lakota), US Marines, 2006; and CPL Nathan J. Goodiron (Three Affiliated/Lakota), US Army National Guard, 2006.
Also participating in the powwow’s 9/11 observance were veterans from other color guard units: Standing Rock, Three Affiliated, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Turtle Mountain, Spirit Lake and United Tribes Technical College.
In the dancing and singing competition, the drum group Badlands, from Brockton, MT, won the singing contest, followed in order by: White Shield Singers, Yellow Face, Grand River and Spirit Lake. Twenty-two drums rendered their best songs for 536 dancers, who participated in six grand entries, intertribal dances and dance competitions.
Sunny skies and above-average temperatures in the low 80s heated up daytime activities during all four days of the event September 8 to 11. Those encamped around Lone Star Arena were treated to overnight temps in the 50s.
Dancers and singers took part in the annual United Tribes “Parade of Champions” through downtown Bismarck, and were joined by tribal groups and tribal and state leaders, including North Dakota U. S. Senator John Hoeven who rode horseback with Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex G. Hall. Major General David A. Sprynczynatyk, Adjutant General of the North Dakota National Guard, was the parade’s grand marshal.
The powwow’s featured cultural group, Chayag, representing the indigenous people of Ecuador, appeared in the parade and presented lively song and dance demonstrations in the powwow dance arbor and for school children.
Shanoa Pinkham (Yakima), Seattle, WA, was selected as the 19th Miss Indian Nations. An estimated 5,000 people crowded into and around the powwow dance arbor to see Ms. Pinkham and other events of Saturday evening, including the first-ever appearance in Lone Star Arena of horses, ridden by members of the Dakota 38 Memorial Riders.
Spectators in the dance arbor included international visitors from Australia, Sweden and Germany on tours organized by the N.D. Dept. of Tourism. The United Tribes International Powwow had been listed earlier this year by the newspaper USA TODAY as one of the top “ten great places to be wowed by American Indian culture.”
Thirty-nine volunteers, college staff members and students served a free roast beef meal Sunday for over 3,000 visitors, singers and dancers. An estimated 10,000 people attended the powwow over the four-days.
Serving as head staff were: Announcers Butch Feilx, SD and Corky Old Horn, MT; Arena Director Tony Kills Crow, OK; Head Singing Judge Patrick Moore, OK; Head Men’s Dance Judge Rusty Gillette, VA: and Head Women’s Dance Judge Jerico Anderson, ND. Delvin Driver, 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 adorned with the powwow logo, showing the artwork of Wallace “Butch” Thunder Hawk Jr., a medal and cash. Second through fifth place winners received cash and medals inscribed with the “Home of the Champions” slogan.
The United Tribes International Powwow Committee thanked all powwow participants and spectators for making the 42nd annual event a success. The committee also expressed its sincere appreciation to companies and individuals in the Bismarck-Mandan community for sponsoring the competitive categories and supporting the powwow and associated events.
United Tribes News
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