Not the same old song and dance

Powwow set for fourth outing Saturday

Rawlins Daily Times, File A dancer pauses during the 2015 High Plains Powwow. Initially a cause for concern, the powwow is safe for the next few years financially.

Rawlins Daily Times, File
A dancer pauses during the 2015 High Plains Powwow. Initially a cause for concern, the powwow is safe for the next few years financially.

By Chad Abshire

editor@rawlinstimes.com

RAWLINS — The High Plains Powwow dances the night away for its fourth time Saturday and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time in the future.

Carbon County Museum Director Kelly Bohanan said not only was the upcoming Powwow covered in terms of funding, next year’s was too.

“We’re very happy about that,” she said. Museum officials had previously expressed some concern about its future given the economic struggles facing the state and Carbon County.

But the show will go on. And it has to, Bohanan said.

“Its very, very important that this part of the Native American culture stays alive,” she said. “Native Americans only make up 2 percent of our population. With that kind of math, you know that this culture is at risk of not being a part of our nation.”

Such a loss, Bohanan said, would be “tragic.”

The Powwow is a “Northern Plains-style dance competition is a rich and immersive opportunity to experience Native American Indian culture,” a release from the Museum stated. “Dancers of all ages will compete in 22 dance categories for over $9,500 in prize money.”

The event has grown each year and Bohanan said it is the most successful event, even at its beginning, that the Museum has had in its 75 years of history.

Bohanan said the event has continued to grow due to its reach. Six slots for drum groups getting filled quickly with participants from three states “shows us the Powwow is gaining a name,” Bohanan said.

With around 135 registrants last year, Bohanan is expecting about the same or even more.

The 2016 High Plains Powwow begins with Grand Entry at 1 p.m. and entry is free.

Bohanan said that was one of the most impressive things attendees can see, as it’s the largest. The second Grand Entry, at 6 p.m., features some of the most creative and colorful dancing.

Bohanan said the event lends itself well to being an event people can come to for moments throughout the day, meaning if people just wanted to see each Grand Entry, that’s definitely something that can be done.

The day’s events will be run by Bart Powaukee as Master of Ceremonies and Chad Red Elk as Arena Director, the Museum’s release stated. Joanna “Ina” Tillman will serve as Honored Elder at the event. Music will be led by Host Drum groups Agency Creek of Fort Hall, Idaho, and Big Wind Singers of Wind River.

There will be craft and food vendors as well, and dancer registration is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the day of the Powwow. Competition dance categories include Mens and Boys Northern Traditional, Fancy Feather, Grass and Prairie Chicken, and Women’s Northern Traditional, Jingle Dress, and Fancy Shawl, with divisions for tots, juniors, teens, adults, and golden agers

For more information, call the Museum at 307-328-2740.

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