By Tim Leeds
The Rocky Boy annual Christmas Pow-Wow is, for the first time, honoring an integral part of Rocky Boy's Reservation the Chippewa Cree tribal law enforcement.
"We decided, as the 2002 Pow-Wow Committee, that we wanted to commemorate our men in blue for their service," said Lloyd Top Sky, an organizer of the powwow. The Christmas Pow-Wow is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
Top Sky said that after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, people have come to realize how important law enforcement personnel are. He said members of the Pow-Wow Committee were researching the history of the tribal law enforcement agency, and, especially in light of the terrorist attacks, thought it would be appropriate to honor past and current members of the agency.
"Law enforcement people in communities haven't always been honored as they should be," he said.
Rocky Boy's law enforcement personnel will be in the grand entry both days of the powwow, with Hill County sheriff's deputy Steve Marden invited to participate too. Top Sky said the Pow-Wow Committee wanted to include other local law enforcement agencies and show the reservation's connection with them.
He said remembrance of the terrorist attacks will also be part the ceremonies.
"We share our sorrows and our prayers with other people who have been affected by this," he said.
Other individuals and organizations honored at the Christmas Pow-Wow in the past include basketball teams, tribal council members, and reservation groups and organizations.
The Rocky Boy Christmas Pow-Wow is a tradition going back probably to the beginning of the reservation, Top Sky said. Rocky Boy's Reservation was created by the U.S. government in 1916.
Public celebration of the powwow stopped in the 1930s when the Bureau of Indian Affairs tried to ban such ceremonies in an attempt to force Native Americans to join mainstream American culture, he said. At that time, ceremonies such as powwows had to be held in secret.
As time went on, Top Sky said, the powwow became more and more of a "pan-Indian event." Tribes from across the country and from Canada participate, as do people in neighboring communities.
The powwow is sponsored by the 2002 Rocky Boy Pow-Wow Committee with support from tribal departments and organizations. It begins with registration at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, followed by the grand entry at 6 p.m. The contests run from 7 to 11 p.m. with the flag song at 11:30 p.m. on both days.
The arena directors are "Rooster" Topsky, Ducky Whitehorse and Guy Fox. Local drums will be elected nightly as the host drum. Young Bird of Pawnee, Okla., is the invited drum.
The scheduled master of ceremonies is Roy Coyote of Hobbema, Alberta. Lloyd Top Sky and Kenny Standing Rock are the co-masters of ceremonies.
Head man dancer at the powwow is Terry Brockie of Hays, and head woman dancer is Kishey Baker of Rocky Boy.
The powwow features an open singing contest. Dancing contest categories include, in Golden Age, men and women; in men's, traditional/Crow style, grass, fancy and chicken dance; in women's, fancy, jingle, traditional buckskin and elk tooth/northern cloth; in teen boys', fancy/grass, traditional and chicken dance; in teen girls', traditional, fancy and jingle. The junior and tiny tot categories have day money.
D'Lynn Fleury, flag bearer of the Hays Christmas Committee, said the Fort Belknap Reservation is not holding a Christmas powwow this year, although there is a New Year's powwow slated in Lodgepole.
The Hays Christmas Committee is holding a celebration on Christmas Day. The event starts at the Mission gym at 3 p.m. with hay rides. Santa Claus will arrive at 5:30 p.m. to deliver gifts to seniors age 65 and up and children ages 1 to 12. After Santa delivers the gifts, there will be a meal, with all invited, serving juneberry soup, fry bread, stew and cake.