By Alan Sorensen
It's powwow time at Northern.
The annual gathering sponsored by Sweetgrass Society of MSU-Northern commences in the Northern gym at 7 p.m. Friday with the first grand entry. Subsequent grand entries will be noon and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Dance and band competitions are open, with bands signing up without a fee and dancers having to pay when they register. The powwow committee expects to pay out nearly $15,000 in prizes to powwow competitors.
The cadre of college students who make up the Sweetgrass Society have been busy raising funds to put on a successful powwow. Some of those efforts will continue throughout the powwow with the sale of raffle tickets and votes for four powwow princesses.
This year for the first time, there will be a Baby MSU-Northern Powwow competition to go along with the Little Miss Indian MSU-Northern Powwow, Jr. Miss Indian MSU-Northern Powwow, and Miss Indian MSU-Northern Powwow races.
Each dollar people donate counts as one vote. People can vote as often as they want for as many candidates as they want. Proceeds will go to cover powwow costs.
People who want to set up booths for selling arts and crafts can make arrangements by calling club advisor Faye Red Fox at 265-3700, ext. 3185. The tables in the past have been set up on the gym's north side balcony, Red Fox said, "usually (for) anyone who wants to come and sell anything."
Sweetgrass members are also raffling off several donated items, including a .26-09 caliber rifle and original paintings by noted Rocky Boy artists Vernon The Boy and Algie Piapot. Other raffle items include an Avon gift pack, little Indian princess doll, dreamcatchers by Jackie Campbell of Browning, a quilt, traditional beadwork, and a lot of other little items, Red Fox said.
The Sweetgrass Society will have the gym concession booth open throughout the powwow.
Donations have also come in from throughout the Havre and Hi-Line area, as well as from afar, Red Fox said.
"We got a lot of community donations, which is good," Red Fox said. "We like to see the community support for the Sweetgrass Society. And we've mailed some (solicitations) out of state.
"We are hoping that people from the community will come up and take part in the powwow."
Sweetgrass Society President Elaine Healy-Berger said rumors that the powwow is closed except to invited competitors only is untrue.
"Everybody's welcome," Healy-Berger said. "And the first eight drum groups that sign up will be paid."
Sweetgrass Society is open to all students, both Indian and non-Indian. It is also open to members of the surrounding community who want to be involved. The club actively participates in dozens of activities at Northern and throughout the community each year. Its regular Indian taco sales on campus throughout the year earn the club much needed funds for its powwow.