Wacipi Celebration


Wacipi Celebration

By Makenzie Huber Reporter

The jingle of bells ring throughout the Swiftel Center as dancers dressed in vibrant Native American dancing outfits prepare for this year’s 24th Annual Wacipi on Saturday, Sept. 13 before the Grand Entry at 1 p.m

The Annual Wacipi is an event put on by the SDSU Mihdowiya Society, formerly recognized as the Native American Society. The Powwow, Wacipi in Lakota, is a strong cultural event for the Brookings Community, bringing Native Americans from tribes all over the region to participate in the event. According to Ernest Weston, president of the Mihdowiya Society, the 2014 theme was to celebrate Native American culture and health.

Bob St. John, a resident of Sisseton, S.D., attended this year’s Wacipi and participated in the dance competitions.

“I love to see the younger people dancing and singing,” St. John said. 

St. John said he has been a Native American dancer for as long as he can remember, but started to dance competitively in 1975. St. John said that he believes that events such as the annual Wacipi are good for younger generations and for students to take part in.

Weston said he believes that the annual Wacipi is an important event for both Native Americans and non-Native Americans.

“A lot of the time we get Native American students [at SDSU] who leave home and leave their community, which is a big thing because you’re not just leaving your community, you’re leaving your whole support system. Since many Native American students come from a very communal society, it’s hard to be an individual in the ‘real world.’ This event is somewhat of a comforting mechanism,” Weston said.

Weston also said he views the Wacipi as an important event for others on campus and in the community. “It’s a good reminder for everyone that there is still a strong Native American culture in the area,” Weston said.

One SDSU student attended the event as a learning experience.

“It was a very cool cultural experience. You never think about it because you never see it, but it’s experiencing a whole different culture that’s right here in our own state,” said Sarah Hammond, a freshman pre-pharmacy major.

Weston said he believes that the event brings cultural awareness to the Brookings community and to the SDSU campus.

Freshman Lindsay Wipf was interested in attending the Wacipi. “I was just curious,” Wipf said. “I liked listening to the different types of singing and watching the dancing.”

Hammond said that her favorite part of the Wacipi was the Grand Entrance.

“I didn’t know that each tribe had its own flag, so it was something new and interesting to see.” Hammond said. She said she also enjoyed learning more about Native American culture and observing the importance of music in Native American culture.

Weston said his favorite part of the event is the camaraderie enjoyed throughout the day.

“I like seeing the different tribal members from various parts of the state come together and enjoy an afternoon together,” Weston said. “I think that community plays a huge part in everybody’s lives that sometimes when you take it for granted, sometimes you have events like this where people can come together to laugh and share stories and what-not. I think that’s a good reminder of how fortunate we are to have community. It’s a good time for everybody to smile and connect, and it’s good to see everybody have a good time after all the hard work that goes on.”