BOZEMAN – The 44th annual American Indian Council Powwow at Montana State University will be held March 29-30 at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. The powwow is free and open to all. This year’s powwow will be will be dedicated to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

The 2019 American Indian Council Powwow at MSU will be held March 29-30 at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. The American Indian Council Powwow is one of the largest powwows held in Montana. The event is free and open to all. (MSU Photo by Jackson Harris)

“Our indigenous students at MSU care deeply about this issue, and we want to feel safe in our communities, and we want our children to grow up not having to look over their shoulders,” said Allison Longtimesleeping Reyos, an MSU student who is co-president of the MSU American Indian Council. “This MMIWG (murdered and missing indigenous women and girls) powwow dedication is also a way to remember and honor those who have passed on or who are still missing. They need to know we care.”

The MSU American Indian Council Powwow is one of the largest in Montana. The powwow weekend events will begin this year at 3 p.m. Friday, March 29, with a ground blessing ceremony for the planned MSU American Indian Hall to be held at the building’s planned location, south of Hannon Hall. The powwow will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, with a grand entry. There will also be grand entries at noon and 6 p.m. Saturday, March 31. Dance and drum competitions with cash prizes are offered.

The host drum group will be The Boyz of St. Paul, Minnesota. The head woman dancer is Wozek Chandler (A’aniinen White Clay of Fort Belknap). Head man dancer is Kasey Nicholson (Aaahniinin and Pikuni Nation from Fort Belknap Indian Community). The masters of ceremonies will be Kenneth Helgeson (Nakoda, from Lodge Pole) and Don Racine (Aaniiih, White Clay from Hays). The arena directors are Francis Sherwood, a member of the Arikara, Hidatsa and Navajo tribes, of Denver, and Kyle Felsman (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe of Arlee). The head dance judge is Ron Lodgepole (Chippewa, of Gilbert, Arizona). Head singing judge is Zach Felsman (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe of Arlee). Tiny Tots dancers, up to 5 years of age, will be given an opportunity to dance and will receive small prizes during each of the three powwow sessions.

Booths located in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse will offer a variety of artisan work for sale, and nonprofit and government organizations also will share information. Concessions will be available for purchase.

Indigenous food, including bison sliders, bison stew served in a squash bowl, an elk chili and fry bread with wojape (traditional berry sauce), among other items, will be available for purchase from the Fork in the Road food service that will be served in the south side upper concessions of the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.

Powwow organizers are seeking volunteers from the MSU and greater community to help with the event. Volunteers may volunteer at the south entrance of the fieldhouse during the powwow. Also, the American Indian Council has organized a silent auction with proceeds going to help fund the powwow.

The American Indian Council Powwow Fun Run, with 5K, mile and walking categories, will be held March 30, beginning at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse parking lot. Registration begins at 8 a.m. the day of the race with the race starting at 9 a.m. The walk category will begin at 9:05 a.m. There is a $20 registration fee, which includes a race T-shirt.

The annual MSU Powwow Basketball Tournament, with cash prizes, will be held March 29-30. For more information, call Cheryl Polacek at 406-599-1311 or email powwowball@gmail.com.

The Presidential American Indian alumni brunch, is set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 30, in the Great Room at the MSU Alumni Foundation. For more information about the brunch go to the AIC webpage at montana.edu/aic, contact the MSU Alumni Foundation at 406-994-2401 or email alumni@montana.edu. The brunch is free, but those who wish to attend should RSVP by Monday, March 25, by calling 855-850-2586 or emailing rsvp@msuaf.org.

The American Indian Council, an MSU student organization, raises funds to help ensure the powwow is free. The MSU Department of Native American Studies and multiple colleges, departments and programs, as well as off-campus organizations, also contribute. For more information about the powwow, go to montana.edu/aic or contact Lisa Perry at 406-994-4880 or lisa.perry2@montana.edu or Nick Ross-Dick, ned@montana.edu.

- By Lisa Perry, MSU News Service -