People from all over South Dakota gathered in the Frost Arena of the HPER this weekend for the annual South Dakota State University Powwow.
The powwow was sponsored and organized by the SDSU Native American Club. President of the club, Vannapha Thammavong, estimated over 1,000 people attended the event. Maybe even 2,000 she said.
“It was the best turnout we’ve had in years,” she said.
The powwow had 12 different dancing categories that men, women, boys and girls competed in.
First place of the dancing portion went to Wakinyan Buzahunheminger in the men’s category, Nahmir Lasely in the women’s category, Marquel Crawford in the boy’s category, and Bandy Free in the girl’s category.
Jon Taken Alive won in the Men’s Grass competition and Kenny Walker won in the Boy’s Grass competition. In the Women’s Jingle competition Amanda Holybull placed first and Toni Tamayo won in the Girl’s Jingle competition.
Placing first in the Tradition categories was Wesley New Holy for the men, Julie Rencoun for the women, John Richards for the boys, and Wahca Loan Eagle for the girls.
First place winners received $175, second received $125, and third received $75 in the men’s and women’s competitions. The boys and girls who placed received $50 for first, $40 for second, and $30 for third.
In addition to those awards, the club honored a Distinguished Alumni, Lyle M. Noisy Hawke. Noisy Hawke, a graduate of 2003, and his family have made many contributions to SDSU, including the Miss Princess contest that is honor of an adopted daughter who died of leukemia. He was awarded with a plaque and star quilt.
Thammavong said that powwow also raised $468 in a Blanket Dance for a family who lost their house and four children in a fire. The club also gave the family an additional $200.
There were more drums than they have ever had said Thammavong. She said there were 19 drums and they were all very important to the powwow.
“The drums are the heart beat; without them it would be pointless to have a powwow,” she said.
The powwow was a great success she said.
“This was the best powwow we’ve had in 14 years,” Thammavong said.