Powwow demonstrates unique dances

Kathleen Fitzgerald

Kathleen Fitzgerald

After taking part in the 20th Annual Wacipi Powwow grand entrance Saturday afternoon, SDSU President David Chicoine announced plans to launch an American Indian Education and Cultural Center on campus. Chicoine said the center, which will temporarily be based in the SDSU Foundation Building beginning this summer, will expand the reach of the university.

“[The center] is not just for American Indian students?It will provide all students with a culturally diverse opportunity,” said Chicoine. “We want faculty and students to be engaged in the center’s evolution.”

The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Office will be working with Student Affairs to lead the effort, which will include a fundraising campaign for the new facility, Chicoine said.

Once the powwow began, members of the audience browsed the vendor tables and ate Indian tacos, nachos and other treats while the performers danced.

Darla Bielfeldt and her husband attended Saturday’s powwow in Frost Arena with four of their five children.

“We wanted to show the kids some of the history and culture of the area,” said Bielfeldt, who said learning about other cultures is just one of the perks of living near a large university.

Head Judge Jolene Arrow has attended the powwow at SDSU for all 20 years as a dancer, a judge or to watch her children perform. Arrow judges on the design and color of the dancers’ regalia, their style of dancing and how much work went into their performance. Aside from South Dakota, she said performers came from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and other surrounding states.

John LeRoy, president of SDSU’s Native American Club, said the two-day event takes a year to plan.

“As soon as this one is over, we’ll start planning for the next one,” LeRoy said.