North Dakota State’s own Benston Bunker Fieldhouse laid host to the 29th annual Woodlands and High Plains Powwow Saturday, April 14.
The Powwow included two grand entrances marked by the Color Guard and dancers from First Nation tribes.
Attendees also participated in games during the Powwow, including the “Hand Game Tournament.”
Native American cuisine was made available during a feast that was open to the public and at a food truck that was parked outside the Fieldhouse.
This Powwow centered around the theme “celebrating life creating our future” and also advocated for the movement #MMIWG, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls.
Attendees were asked to donate an earring to the MMIWG project, and the Powwow included a traditional all-woman “Jingle Dance” to support healing in the community.
Native American undergraduate and graduate students were also honored during the grand entry.
NDSU students Tyrel Iron Eyes and Megan Ehora were part of the Powwow committee.
Iron Eyes said his favorite part of the Powwow besides the food at the event was seeing the children experience the event.
“All these kids are having such a good time, and it just makes me happy,” Iron Eyes said.
Ehora agreed with Iron Eyes, saying, “They’re so full of life, and they’re so carefree.” Ehora said she hopes that this spirit will continue on into the future.
The grand entry went well, according to Iron Eyes. He said the emcee spoke well and hit on the key points he needed to, and the dancers were enthusiastic.
Iron Eyes said the grand entrance was also pleasantly brief, noting, “I’ve been to other powwows where the grand entrance is like 28 minutes … (this powwow) was a reasonable time.”
Iron Eyes looks forward to when the Powwow is held at his campus.
“It feels like I’m being acknowledged — that I’m here on campus — that I’m not like pushed away into a corner,” Iron Eyes said.
Iron Eyes said that going to this event and “seeing that there are people interested in my background and my culture, and there are people out here having fun, people out there who look like me, people out there that have the same traditions and customs as me, it makes me happy; it makes me feel like I belong here.”
Ehora said people might not be aware of how large the Native American population is on campus.
In the back of the Fieldhouse, there was a list of the Native American students that attend tri-college schools.
Iron Eyes said there were people on the list he did not know were Native American and that after the event he was going to get food with them.
The Powwow rotates host schools every year. This year it was NDSU, but it has also been hosted at Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College.