SDSU celebrates 28th annual Wacipi event

Elizabeth Stromquist, Reporter

American Indians across the state gather in the Volstroff Ballroom once a year to celebrate culture and religion with the tribal communities. 

The 28th annual Wacipi, or pow wow, is an event that is a time of celebration for the American Indian population. 

The American Indian Center and American Indian Student Association hosted this event with help from many sponsors. American Indian vendors were selling purses, beadwork and Indian tacos. 

The event began with an opening prayer followed by honoring those who have served in the armed forces. The honor guard led the flag presentation in the opening ceremony, which was followed by dancers clad in traditional American Indian attire. The dancers wore clothing and accessories that represented their culture, beliefs and values.

Briggs Library had a table in the vendor area with pictures of notable American Indians and descriptions of their accomplishments. There was also a table in the vendor area dedicated to information about the Wokini Initiative, a newly-instated program offered through the university to support American Indian students in their studies and foster an environment where the students can practice their traditions.

Grace Brink, a sophomore music entrepreneurship major, stressed the importance of having an event like this on campus.

“It’s important to have events like this because it allows us to learn about other cultures and gain an understanding of the culture,” she said. “It also provides more representation for students and its important for us to remember how this was their land before we came.”

When asked what her favorite part of the Wacipi event was, Brink said, “I really liked the different traditional clothing and jewelry they were wearing. I loved how they are all unique in how they.”

Ryan Sailors, a student from the College of Arts and Sciences, said that South Dakota has a high population of American Indians. He believes this is why the university should have more events like Wacipi.

“It’s important to have cultural events like this because it brings representation to students who may not receive it that often,” Sailors said. “The Lakota and Dakota population here in South Dakota needs to have the representation that they deserve.”

The university offers many cultural events throughout the school year for students to attend. Until it moves to its new building, the American Indian Student Center is located by the Enrollment Center on the northwest side of campus. The university is currently constructing a new American Indian center and it should be completed in the coming years.