UND readies for the 43rd annual Wacipi Powwow April 19-21


David L. Dodds

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UND readies for the 43rd annual Wacipi Powwow April 19-21

The beating of the drums are reminiscent of a heartbeat, a reminder of culture and even deeper meanings for some.

American Indian voices sing, the announcer's charisma keeps up the positive energy as he describes the categories, dances and contest taking place.

These are the sounds that will welcome you when you enter the University of North Dakota Indian Association Time-Out Week/ Wacipi Powwow, which runs April 19-21, at the UND Hyslop Sports Center.

"Picture being at a concert. Imagine that feeling of anticipation, the connection and energy you feel amongst fans just happy to be there," said B.J. Rainbow, head man dancer for the Wacipi. "I cannot do it justice but that is a similar experience to what you will feel going to a Powwow."

The "grand entry" on the first day of the Wacipi, set this year for 7 p.m., Friday, April 19 , is considered to be the most exciting point of the Powwow by many who have attended.

Tribes from all over the United States and Canada participate in the Wacipi. There are six categories for age groups ranging from tiny tots to elders. All groups come together during the grand entry.

Every outfit is unique, there are combinations of colors and accessories that will never be seen anywhere again.

Something for everyone

For taco enthusiast, fry bread and Indian tacos are an essential part to the Powwow experience, and many who try them say they will be back again next year for another. There are also opportunities to purchase authentic items from American Indian vendors such as intricate beaded earrings, hair barrettes or bracelets.

The UND Wacipi is an event for anyone with interest or curiosity of American Indian culture, and everyone is encouraged to attend. The Powwow is free for UND students, children younger than 5 and senior citizens. (Be sure to bring valid student ID.) Otherwise it is $12 for the weekend or $7 per day.

The proceeds from the tickets and food sales go right back into putting on the event again next year.

"You only live once, and so we all know the importance of having new experiences," Rainbow said. "I always say just take a time out. Take a break from life and try something new. It's okay if it's not for you! Just trying something new is what matters."

Time-Out Week

The Powwow is considered by many to be one of the most exciting events of UND's Time-Out Week, which has been taking place all week at UND. Time-Out Week is when the University community takes "time out" to reflect upon American Indian culture past, present and future with special activities, presentations and lectures.

Here is the remainder of this week's Time-Out Week events:

Wednesday, April 17:

  • 10 a.m. – LastRealIndians.com Year One, a presentation by Chase Iron Eyes, Memorial Union Lecture Bowl.
  • 12:15 p.m. -- "Public Perceptions of Federal Indian Law and Upcoming Challenges," a presentation by Chase Iron Eyes, Northern Plains Indian Law Center distinguished speaker, Baker Courtroom, (third floor), UND School of Law.
  • 2 p.m. – Chance Rush, motivational speaker/comedian, Memorial Union River Valley Room.
  • 5 p.m. – Spoken Word Open Mic, Memorial Union Ballroom.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Powwow Presentation: The dances of the Wacipi, with the Rivers Edge Drum Group, Chance Rush and/or B.J. Rainbow, Memorial Union Ballroom.

Thursday, April 18:

  • 8 a.m. – McNair Program Research Presentations (All Day Event), Memorial Union River Valley Room.
  • 10 a.m. – Wampum Belts and Haudenosaunee Oral Tradition, with Jamie Jacobs, Memorial Union Lecture Bowl.
  • 1 p.m. – "Carrying the Load with Code: The Legacy of a Code Talker," a presentation by Frank Sage, Memorial Union Badlands Room.
  • 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m., Opening Reception of "Minwaajimo -- Telling a Good Story:" Art collection of Hillary Davis Kempenich (April 18-May11), Blue Door Gallery, 2 N. Third St., Suite C., Grand Forks.
  • 7 p.m. – QueseIMC musical performance, Memorial Union Ballroom.

Friday, April 19:

  • 8 a.m. – Center For Rural Health Training (All Day Event), Memorial Union River Valley Room.
  • 10 a.m. -- "Parallels of Invasive Species vs. Indigenous medicines," a presentation by Tallie Hosetosavit, Memorial Union Lecture Bowl.


  • American Indian Student Services, 701.777.6985
  • Damian Webster, president of the UND Indian Student Association, onondowaga22@gmail.com

Danielle Miller

UND communication and Indian Studies student

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