Monday, April 5, 2010

UW hosts 29th biennial powwow April 17-18

From a UW press release:

Contestants from around the region are expected to take part in the 29th biennial powwow April 17-18, at the University of Wyoming's War Memorial Fieldhouse in Laramie.

UW's American Indian Studies Program, together with the American Indian Studies Alliance, will host a series of events before the spring semester powwow.

The powwow, free and open to the public, begins at noon Saturday with the grand entry followed by a second grand entry at 7 p.m. The Sunday session grand entry is at noon.

Indian dances will be performed throughout the weekend. Vendors will sell Native American items and memorabilia, Indian tacos and more.

The event is sponsored by UW's Native American student group, Keepers of the Fire, celebrating its 39th anniversary as an organization that helps preserve and promote cultural diversity on campus.

The words "Keepers" and "Fire" represent the concept that the fire must be kept preserved and burning. In the Indian culture, a fire must never be allowed to die out. It was the keeper's duty to keep the fire going.

Saturday and Sunday, contestants from the region will be judged on their dancing ability and on the quality and creativity of their regalia. Dancers in various age groups will perform in men's, women's and teen divisions in such categories as fancy, grass, traditional and jingle dances. Other activities include a Keepers of the Fire princess contest, tiny tot competition and drum contests. Prize money will be awarded in five age divisions.

Will Peters from Pine Ridge, S.D., is the powwow's master of ceremonies; Patrick Iron Cloud Sr. of Ethete is arena director; and Irene Sanke is the 2008-2010 Keepers of the Fire Powwow Princess.

For more information, contact Tanaya Moon Morris at (307) 760-6340 or e-mail

UW's American Indian Studies Program and the American Indian Studies Alliance have scheduled three days of activities before the powwow. Events each day are:

-- Wednesday April 14: Writer Diane Wilson will read excerpts from her book "Spirit Car" at 6 p.m. Classroom Building Room 310.

-- Thursday April 15: Film festival -- topic: boarding schools. "In the White Man's Image," 6 p.m., and "Where the Spirit Lives," 7:30 p.m. Classroom Building Room 129.

-- Friday April 16: Film festival -- topic: sovereignty. "The Battle for Whiteclay," 4 p.m., followed by a discussion with film maker Mark Vasina and Indian activist Frank Lamere who appears in the film. "Skins," 7:30 p.m. All events are in the Classroom Building Room 129.