Black Hills Powwow Youth Day helps build cultural understanding

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In recognition of the upcoming Native American Day holiday, more than 4,000 students from across the region attended the 5th Annual Black Hills Powwow Youth Day on Friday. The goal was to leave with a better understanding of Lakota culture.

“We like to give the opportunity to the school district and surrounding schools to come here and share culture, learn about culture, and to be inspired," said Steven Yellowhawk, the board president of the Black Hills Powwow Association.

For Rapid City Area School officials, the experience is an opportunity to help students build relationships and foster cultural understanding.

"The Lakota people are indigenous to this area, and so it is extremely vital that all students learn about the culture and the heritage that is so rich in this area," said Sarah Pierce, the manager of Indian education for Rapid City Area Schools.

Yellowhawk believes that the Powwow Youth Day is key in building unity with the community and appreciates RCAS allowing students to have this experience.

"It plays a crucial role in building bridges," said Yellowhawk. “To us, work on race relations help us coexist in this community. A lot of the youth that showed up today wouldn't normally come to a powwow. They won't normally have to the opportunity to do so. But I think this is a great event, where we are giving them the opportunity to see culture, to see what goes on at a powwow and maybe to go home and tell their parents"

Pierce agreed saying, "I hope they see the richness and the beauty of the Lakota culture. I hope to see it as a living, breathing contemporary aspect of our lives, and hope they share that with their families."

More than 1,000 performers will take part the Black Hills Powwow from across the United States and Canada with the goal of celebrating their heritage, in addition for competing for prize money from dancing and singing events.

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