Black Hills Pow Wow 2019
Rushmore Plaza Civic Center — Hundreds of people showed up for the Black Hills pow wow today, one of the biggest cultural events in Rapid City and one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States
Traditional dancers, singing groups, and artisans from all around the country made their way to the Black Hills to partake in the festivities. The day began with the Native American parade where kids and adults alike were out in vehicles and parade floats dancing and giving the hills a glimpse of their culture. A variety of floats were featured, including a red dress float which symbolizes murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.
There were many vendors and artisans present to showcase and sell their chosen work, including Lisa Short Bull, a jewelry designer and the owner of Native Appeal. She says, “Some of the red shapes that you see here are for the murdered missing indigenous women. I’m going to be donating one of these earrings because they put out a call several years ago for people to donate an earring if they knew somebody who was either missing or murdered, or even if you support that, you could donate one earring. And it’s just one earring because it indicates one’s missing, and so that missing earring represents a sister who’s missing or murdered”.
After an entrance by Native American veterans, dancers flaunted their moves while round drum singing groups such as Northern Cree and the Hunkpapa Lakota drum group performed and sang. This was also a time to showcase various tribal garments. Many of the outfits have special meanings, and typically represent family history or historic events.
For centuries pow wows have been a time for celebration and fellowship. The dances and songs have been passed down for generations and most of the dancers and singers start performing as children.
Short Bull says “The Pow wow’s a time of celebrating. Usually it’s to celebrate who survived the winter, right, because South Dakota winters are so bad and we like to get together in the spring time, but the Black Hills pow wow is a nice time to get together in the fall and be with friends and family and just celebrate, not only being indigenous, but being a part of the rapid city community and it’s just a really wonderful time.
The Black Hills pow wow will conclude celebrations and events on October 13, 2019.