Alice Campbell Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends, family and curious spectators will gather Friday and Saturday for the 33rd-annual Sweetgrass Society Powwow. "Our powwow is a gathering of friends and families, a place where people come to visit and have a good time, Elaine Healy-Berger, community representative for Montana State University- Northern Sweetgrass Society said. The event serves as a celebration of the end of the school year for Northern students. The powwow, begun as a way to share Native American culture with people who might not be exposed to it otherwise, will be held in the Northern gym. "There are a lot of people who don't understand what a powwow is and don't understand about the dances," Healy- Berger said. "If anyone who has never attended a powwow comes to ours, they can watch, ask questions or come to the announcer's stand, and we will answer anything they want to know," she added. Roughly 200 registered dancers from various states will compete in dances including men's Traditional, Grass and Fancy; women's Traditional, Jingle and Fancy; and Chicken Dance Specials. The junior competitions will be the same as the adult ones. Prizes for competitive dances are monetary and will be announced this week. Each year there are "more (people) that just come to dance and not compete in the contests," Healy-Berger said and added that "there are Intertribal dances where everyone can dance, and it is not a competition." State Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, will attend the event and give The welcome speech. The grand entry Friday will be at 6:30 p.m. and at noon Saturday. Head lady and head man are Sue and Tom Champagne, respectively, of Havre, with Ken Gardipee as the master of ceremonies and Julius Not Afraid as the arena director. "We usually have about 12 drum groups that come to sing," Healy-Berger said. The host drum will be chosen at the session. This year, the princesses for next year's powwow will be chosen by the number of one-dollar votes contestants are able to gather by the end of Saturday's grand entry. "The winners of each title are determined by who raises the most votes," Healy-Berger said. Princesses for this weekend's powwow are: Precious Fox, Baby MSU-N; Alexis Rose Flansburg, Lil Miss MSU-N; Roseann Saddler, Miss Indian MSU-N Junior Princess; Brueshana Jenae Grant, Miss Indian MSU-N Senior Princess. The event is free of charge with concessions sold during the ceremonies. Members of the society spend much of the year raising funds for the powwow, of which the proceeds go to scholarships and other club activities. The club, founded in 1976 by Pam Austin for Native American and non-Native American students, is also active in MSU-N homecoming, Native American Heritage Week activities, the community Halloween party, Adopt-AFamily at Christmas, the community Christmas party, donations to the Havre Community Food Bank and the Giveaway House, bake sales and Indian taco sales.