MSU announces 34th annual Spring Honor Dance and Powwow Celebration events

MINOT, N.D. – The 34th annual Minot State University Spring Honor Dance & Powwow Celebration is scheduled for April 26 and 27 in the Minot State Dome.

The event is free and open to the public.

This year, the University has expanded the event beyond the powwow and honoring to include award-winning author Diane Wilson (“Seed Keeper,” “Spirit Car,” “Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life”) and the dedication of Plum River Native Prairie at the former Erik Ramstad school location with keynote speaker Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills.

The Spring Honor Dance and Powwow committee will also bring back the powwow educational program former director Wylie Hammond hosted. This program will take place Friday, April 26 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. in the south entrance of the Dome and is free and open to the public. It is named the Kennedy Bruce (Porcupine Woman) Powwow Program after former Native American Club president Kennedy Bruce, who passed away from cancer in 2015.

What is a powwow?

It is called Wacipi in Dakota and Ni-mi-win in Ojibwe, meaning a celebration of life. A powwow is a time when people of all ages gather to sing, dance, renew old friendships, make new friends, and share the beauty of native people with everyone. There are basically two types of powwows: traditional and contest. Minot State University’s powwow is a contest powwow, part of a powwow circuit, and drums/dancers from across the United States and Canada attend. There are different dance categories and age groups, from toddler to elder.

What will you see?

  • A dance arena — a circle — represents the totality of learning in a lifetime.
  • Drums have their own life. The drums are made from two living things: wood and hide. The drum is treated with respect and should only be used by the owner(s). 
  • The Grand Entry is a parade of dancers that opens the powwow. The clothing worn by the dancers is called regalia or outfits and should not be touched by anyone but the owner (Annette Mennem, Native American Center Director).

Powwows are known for their vendors! Our powwow will have a dozen vendors, sales, and information. The Native American Cultural Awareness Club and Center has a food booth at the powwow with frybread tacos and other concessions. Proceeds from the food booth will go towards honoring graduates. The food booth opens at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 26, and 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27.

Dancer and drum registration opens Friday, April 26 at 5 p.m. and closes Saturday, April 27 at 12:30 p.m. Grand Entry times are 7 p.m. on Friday, April 26, and both 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.

This year’s master of ceremony is Charlie Moran. Wade Baker is the arena director, and Annette Mennem, MSU’s Native American Center director, is the powwow director.

The MSU Native American Center and Native American Cultural Awareness Club is again the host of the event. Sponsors for the 34th annual Spring Honor Dance & Powwow Celebration are Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa tribal council, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara tribal council and Four Bears Segment, Four Bears Casino, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Minot State students, MSU Diversity Council, and MSU Cultural and Intellectual Engagement Grant.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 04/11/24   

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