Scene from 30th Annual United Tribes Powwow Program. Courtesy united Tribes Technical College
United Tribes Powwow
Founded in 1969, the United Tribes Powwow is an
annual championship of Native American songs and dances. During the
September event, more than 1,500 traditional dancers showcase their
cultural pride to the beat of more than 40 drum groups. Held on the
campus of the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, Indians
compete in 22 categories of dance competitions for teams, seniors,
adults, teens, juniors, and small children.
Initially the celebration began as a traditional
powwow, called "United Tribe Days," sponsored by the students of
the United Tribes Technical College on the school's basketball
court. Only a limited number of dances and drum groups participated
in the early powwows, attended by a few hundred spectators.
The United Tribes Technical College was founded in
1969 by an intertribal nonprofit organization, the United Tribes of
North Dakota Development Corporation, operated by five North Dakota
tribes: The Spirit Lake Tribe, the Sisseton-Wahpton Sioux Tribe,
the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Turtle Mountain Band of
Chippewa, and the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold. The
college was the first tribal controlled vocational training
institution in the nation.
Since 1990, a Miss Indian Nations Pageant has been
held, at which a female ambassador is selected to convey American
Indian values, customs, and teachings. Other powwow cultural
activities include a youth day celebration and sports tournaments.
An Indian Art Expo and Market showcases high quality traditional
and fine art pieces from national artists. These include beadwork,
quillwork, leatherwork, pottery, textiles, sculpture, paintings,
drawings and prints, ceramics, metalwork, jewelry, and mixed media.
Throughout the art exhibition, staged performances of traditional
music and dance, along with oral renditions of legends and customs,
Other powwow events include the United Tribes parade
that begins at the state capitol and winds through the heart of
Bismarck, and the intertribal council summit, which is a gathering
of all North Dakota tribal councils to address common issues to
Documentation includes a press release; the 1999
International Powwow catalog; brochure; two cassette recordings of
featured powwow drum groups; a poster, and memorabilia, including
an "International Powwow" can of soda pop.
Originally submitted by: Earl Pomeroy, Representative (At Large).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.