The beating of the drums, the colorful regalia on full display, the dances that captivate you, and the smell of frybread; have you experienced an authentic Native American Powwow?

A Powwow is a gathering of American Indian people to celebrate life through prayer and cultural pride demonstrated with dance, food, song, and demonstrations of arts and crafts.

An audience can expect to learn and participate in a demonstration of 1st People’s pride in celebrating life through ceremony. The Master of Ceremony manages and explains to the audience the events. Many nations from around the region will attend to dance, sing, present arts and crafts, and socialize with each other. The Little Shell Powwow will have two Grand Entries including the dancers, dignitaries, and other participants. Dancer regalia will differ form category to category; for example, men will dance traditional, grass, fancy, and even hoop or chicken dance. Women will dance in traditional, jingle, fancy shawl, and crow hop. The different categories will include teen dancer categories and crowd favorite tiny tots! Elders are very important dancers in the golden age category. The audience will be asked to participate in the Round Dance, a social dance that includes everyone present to hold hands and dance in a circle to the beat of the drum.

photo credit: Karlene Faulkner

The Powwow is a must see event because it is a tribe’s premier social ceremony in celebration of life. All audiences and races are encouraged to attend. A powwow is a continuation of a culture that has survived, evolved, and thrived that is this nation’s first people. Examples of large powwows around the country include the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque New Mexico, or Crow Fair (Tipi Capital of the World) in Montana. The Powwow highway or list of national and local events can be found on www.powwows.com.

photo credit: Karlene Faulkner

The Little Shell Powwow is unique in that our tribe is a State recognized tribe and not yet federally recognized by the United States Government. We lost our recognition when we were disenfranchised from Turtle Mountain Reservation in the 1892 McCumber Agreement often referred to as the 10 cent treaty. The Little Shell Powwow will be held at the historic First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park. The site is sacred to American Indians. The arbor was constructed by members of the Little Shell Chippewa, Rocky Boy Chippewa and Saginaw Chippewa. Representing a large portion of Native peoples that lived on Hill 57, Moccasin Flats and other regions across Montana, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park has greeted visitors from around the world and on behalf of all the members of the Chippewa nations and all American Indians look forward to celebrating our life through prayer and culture at this years Little Shell Powwow.

This year, the Little Shell Traditional Powwow on August 25 will display the traditional elements of a Powwow. Set on the scenic range of First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park, the Little Shell Traditional Powwow will honor Native American tradition by featuring drumming, dancing, and traditional dress, crafts, children activities, displays, exhibits, and native food. Visitors are encouraged to attend to experience history and heritage first-hand.

Special thanks to Karlene Faulkner and Richard Parenteau for images, information, and cultural standards for attending and experiencing an authentic Powwow.