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MSU Honor Dance celebrates accomplishments

» Grand Entry livecast both days
   May at 1 p.m. and May 7 at 7 p.m.

Minot State University’s Dome will come alive with tradition, color and movement. Native American dancers and drum groups from throughout North Dakota and neighboring states and provinces will compete during the 27th annual Native American Spring Honor Dance and Powwow Celebration May 6-7. One thousand to 1,500 people attend annually; the event includes the acknowledgement of achievements, competitive dancing, vendor and information booths and food. The powwow is one of the largest student activities on campus.

This event, sponsored by the Native American Cultural Awareness Club, the Native American Center and the university, will honor all 2016 graduates. Typically, an average of 19 Native American students graduate from MSU each year.

“Graduations and powwows have a lot of similarities. Both recognize accomplishments, dedication and hard work,” said Annette Mennem, Native American Center director and NACAC advisor. “We will celebrate the Class of 2016 May 6 and 7 and wish its members good luck in their future endeavors.”

Activities start both days at 10 a.m. and feature dance competitions and the sale of Native American arts, crafts and food. Two "Grand Entries," the time when all of the dancers enter the arena, are scheduled for 1 and 7 p.m. each day. Charles Moran, Mandaree, will be the emcee, while Donovan Abbey will be the arena director with Western Dakota as the host drum group.

Following the 7 p.m. Grand Entry on May 6, the Stevenson family will host a Crow “push dance” special honoring Clifford Klimpel. This May, Klimpel will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from MSU. Delvin Driver, Sr., is the announcer with Little Shell as the host drum for this honoring.

To honor the graduates and their families, a buffalo meal will be served May 7 in the Student Center at 5 p.m. The Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tribal Ranch/Buffalo Project donated the buffalo.

After the 7 p.m. Grand Entry on May 7, a memorial special will honor Wylie Hammond, past Native American Center director, with men’s traditional dancing. Hammond died April 18, 2015, at the age of 68. His joy and passion were working with Native American students, especially at Minot State for 18 years.

The “Honor Parade,” in which all 2016 MSU graduates are invited to participate, follows the memorial special on May 7 at 8 p.m.

Dance competitions will be held for elders, men, women, teens, juniors and “tiny tots.” The competition for men includes traditional, grass and fancy dancing. Women's dance competitions include traditional, fancy and jingle styles. Cash prizes will be awarded.

Admission to the Spring Honor Dance and Powwow Celebration is $3 for ages 12-55; it is free to children under 12, elders and MSU students, faculty and staff.

In addition to MSU, the Three Affiliated Tribes provided support for the event.

For questions, contact Mennem, at 858-3365 or

Published: 04/22/16

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