North Dakota State will host the 29th annual Woodlands and High Plains Powwow in the Bentson-Bunker Fieldhouse. The powwow will be from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 12, and includes a meal at 5 p.m. Two grand entrances will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The powwow rotates each year between NDSU, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College. The event is free to students from all three universities.
Jered Pigeon, the event’s committee chair, explained that “this traditional powwow is a time where family members, dancers and singers come together and produce and create community.”
The traditional “grand entry” of the powwow is described by Pigeon as the “time where all dancers will be coming out.” The start of the grand entry is marked, according to Pigeon, by the Honor Guard who will bring with them Tribal Flags, the American flag and POW flags.
The grand entry then proceeds with dancers, followed by “elder women” and then “elder men.” After this, the “Royalty” will come out; these are people who have won “various contest(s), or they have been nominated for something special in their area,” Pigeon said.
“Then after that you’re gonna have your youth,” according to Pigeon.
Pigeon said that during and after the grand entrance the audience will “get a chance to see all the beautiful colors, the beautiful regalia.” Regalia is the proper term for the traditional clothing worn at powwows.
The powwow will also feature a “hand game” tournament, which, according to Pigeon, is an “original American Indian game.” Certain specials and dances will take place as well.
This powwow will honor the missing murdered indigenous women and girls. “We want to bring awareness to this because that’s destroying the families,” Pigeon said.
“The indigenous women and girls are murdered and kidnapped and abused at rates that are disproportionately higher than the other ethnicities,” Pigeon explained.
Pigeon also said they are bringing awareness to this issue through #MMIWG on twitter.
The theme for this year’s powwow, “Celebrating Life. Creating Our future,” is based on the MMIWG. Pigeon explained that, “We’re celebrating our life. Don’t murder, don’t kill our American Indian women. Allow them to be mothers, sisters, grandmothers and we’re going to continue to build our future.”
Pigeon encouraged students to go to the powwow. “Its an opportunity for students to go see and be a part of something that’s right on their campus that’s almost impossible to replicate.”