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Rocky Boy powwow kicks off this week


Colin Thompson

A dancer performs in the 2017 Rocky Boy powwow. This year's events start this week with a rodeo today.

Rocky Boy's 54th Annual Celebration Powwow, kicking off this week, is a alcohol-free event that the whole Chippewa Cree Tribe looks forward to each year, powwow committee Chair Calvin Jilot said this morning.

"(We) try to enjoy and have a fun celebration," Jilot said.

He added that the powwow is a place for tribal singers and dancers to show off their skills and their regalia and have the chance to win cash prizes.

The Chippewa Cree Tribe's online lending company, Plain Green, has contributed more than half of the funds for the powwow, Jilot said; with Havre's Master Sports in Havre, Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services Inc., local pawn shops and vendors for the powwow also contributing.

He said one of the features at the powwow are the songs and the drums,which have a rich history and meaning. He added that many big-name singers who go to powwows nationwide will be attending the Rocky Boy Powwow.

Jilot said that to be able to see visitors and family from across the nation is one to the best parts of the celebration.

Some of the events during the week Jilot said he was excited about were the youth powwow and the Sobriety Walk.

Jilot said he works with many youth with a lot of different events, such as the state fair this past weekend in Great Falls, and it is important to get the youth involved so that they can carry on the tribe in the future. He said there has been a lot of tragedy over the past months with families losing loved ones, which hits the kids the hardest, and he hopes that with this week everyone can celebrate life and culture with their families and loved ones.

"We start teaching them now how to grow up, how to be respectful; how to be a hard-worker; drug and alcohol free; learn the culture and everything. What really sets up Rocky Boy for success ... is that we need to make sure that our future leaders are prepared, knowledged and ready to run our reservation when we get old and pass," Jilot said.

Jilot said one of his favorite things is to see the dancers at the youth powwow.

"Between the youth that are all dressed up and those who are not, when they hear that drum and see others singing they have no problem getting out in the middle of our arbor and just dancing," Jilot said. "To see the smiles and how happy they are when they get five bucks or a gift or toy or something, it's truly amazing getting to watch how much fun they actually have."

"We invited everybody ... especially the ones who have never been to a powwow or our powwow or even out on the reservation," Jilot said. "We live on a beautiful patch of land, between the mountains, the celebration with all the teepees set up and everything."

The schedule for this week's events are:

Today at 7 p.m. the first performance of the United Indian Rodeo Association-sanctioned rodeo, a qualifier for the Indian National Finals Rodeo, immediately followed by slack, at the Sibyl Sangrey-Colliflower Memorial Arena near Box Elder.

Wednesday, slack will be at 9 a.m. and the rodeo performance at 7 p.m. at the arena.

Thursday, registration opens for youth powwow from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the youth powwow starting at 7 p.m. at the powwow grounds on Laredo Road.

Friday, the annual sobriety walk starts at 9 a.m. at the former Stone Child College location at Rocky Boy's Agency, then the grand entry for the powwow is at 6 p.m.

Saturday, grand entry will be at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Sunday, grand entry will be at 1 p.m.

There is no charge to attend any of the events.


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