Black Hills Pow Wow: Empowering Our Youth & Special Groups

Here, in the Black Hills, we are gearing up for the 25th Annual He Sapa Wacipi (Black Hills Pow Wow) slated for October 7-9, 2011!

This year's theme is “Empowering Our Youth" and is sure to not only bring with it the beautiful song and dance of the Plains Indian culture, but also a fine arts show, style show, scholarship pageant, wellness symposium for youth, and tournaments for hand games, softball, golf, and archery.

And although this marks the end of our Pow Wow season here on the Plains (at least the outdoor events), we always look forward to our He Sapa Wacipi. It takes place right here in Rapid City and gives us the chance to see, enjoy, and meet the hundreds of dancers, singers, and artisans (as well as the thousands of visitors) this event attracts.

I would also like to recognize a few important groups that attend every Pow Wow. These folks are what really makes these events special…

A very important participant at every Pow Wow is our beloved Veteran's. These men and women make it possible to live our everyday lives with freedom, the freedom to express ourselves and the freedom to live the life we choose.

During a Pow Wow, Veteran's enter the arena first to display the flags they fought so hard for and the eagle feather staffs to honor our Veteran's who have passed on. Not only do we honor our family members who have died in battle, but we also invite them to join in on the good feelings and positive energy a Pow Wow creates.

Dancers & Their Regalia
Each dance category, whether traditional or contemporary, is represented with some of the finest regalia seen in our modern times.

These outfits are symbols of the love a family has for the dancer, the skill of the dance costume maker and the ability of the dancer to carry the regalia in honor of their families.

The competition is tough but friendly and each dancer admires the others skill and techniques.

Drum Groups
These folks really get the dancers started, without them, the dance would not make sense and with them there is a perfect harmony of foot steps and drum beats. The singing is powerful and sends a message across space and time, we are still here.

This year's He Sapa Wacipi host drum group is Bear Creek, an Ojibwe group from Saulet Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Their performances all across Indian country have made them a favorite with dancers and listeners alike. This group has been together since 1998 and they travel extensively throughout Canada and the U.S.

…and don't forget about Etiquette
Please keep these things in mind while at a Pow Wow:

  1. Never reach out and touch a dancers outfit or feathers, these are very personal and have deep cultural value.
  2. Never point at a Pow Wow, it is considered rude.
  3. Never sit in a dancer or drummers chair, these areas are reserved for them only.
  4. Always ask before taking pictures and you must have permission to video.
  5. Please follow the guidance of the arena director, if the crowd is asked to stand and remove your hats please do it. If the arena director calls out for an inter-tribal dance then feel free to dance, otherwise, please just be a good spectator.

Full Pow Wow Etiquette Guide

Have lots of fun!
A Pow Wow is about a gathering of friends and family and you are invited to come and enjoy these historical events. So this year, come dance with us and see you at the Pow Wow.