By Alan Sorensen
Easter Weekend is powwow weekend at Montana State University-Northern.
The Sweetgrass Society of MSU-Northern is hosting its annual powwow Friday evening and Saturday in the Northern gym.
Grand entries for the first Hi-Line powwow of the season will be 7 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and 6 p.m. Saturday.
Sweetgrass Advisor Elaine Healy-Berger said that 400 or more dancers are expected to participate and compete in the two-day affair.
"And our host drum is White Clay from Fort Belknap," Healy-Berger said. "They were on the album that won the Grammy. We were lucky to get them here, because right now they're really popular."
As is the custom at the Sweetgrass powwow, four princesses will be selected to represent Sweetgrass powwow for one year. Princesses whose one-year terms conclude this weekend are, from the youngest to oldest and their ages from last year:
Baby MSU-N Sweetgrass Society Indian Princess Alexis Rose Flansburg, 10 months, of Havre;
Little Miss Indian MSU-N Princess Jestina Good Voice, 4, of Rocky Boy;
Miss Indian MSU-N Junior Princess Jeri Lynn Nepoose, 8, of Rocky Boy;
Miss Indian MSU-Northern Princess Shoshanna Saddler, 14, Rocky Boy.
Voting for princess candidates is simple; for every dollar donated on behalf of princess candidate constitutes one vote. The proceeds go toward the cost of the powwow and other Sweetgrass activities. Last year, the candidates generated $4,914,86 for the university's Sweetgrass Society.
Healy-Berger said contestants can enter the voting right up until about an hour before the crowning. She said she expected the dance contests to end before midnight Saturday. Contest prizes, raffle prizes and crowning of princesses will occur around that time.
Raffles this year include the progressive 50/50 that will accumulate throughout the powwow and various items. A featured item this year is an original pencil sketch by Rocky Boy artist Zane Blatt, donated by Leon Cochran.
Sweetgrass Society Vice President Arlene Cochran said that the winner of the 50/50 does not have to be present to win. If the winner does not appear and provide Cochran with appropriate identification, the winnings will be mailed out as a certified check.
"It should take about 10 days for the winner to get it (in the mail)," Cochran said. "But if they're there with an ID, they can collect it on the spot."
Cochran said she will sell the 50/50s from a booth at the powwow.
There also will be concessions to accommodate the crowds and other vendors at the event.
Sweetgrass president this year is Missy Mesteth.
For more information about the upcoming powwow and fund-raisers or to offer to help or make a donation, call the Red Fox at (406) 265-3589.