A crowd of nearly 5,000 MSU students and members of the community gathered in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse this weekend for the American Indian Council’s (AIC) 40th annual Powwow. The two-day event took place April 3-4, bringing together a diverse audience to appreciate and celebrate American Indian culture. The event included three grand entries, as well as various dance categories which ranged in dance style and age.
The age groups included 55 and older, adult men and women, teens, juniors and a seven and under category.
The powwow had more than just singing, dancing and elaborate American Indian regalia, there was also a range of items for sale. With 30 different vendors, items included pop-culture apparel, accessories, tanned animal skins, American Indian jewelry and clothing. Food vendors and a bounce house were at the powwow as well. The variety provided entertainment for all attendees, who varied from young children to powwow veterans in full traditional dress.
MSU student Kade Falls Down was the volunteer coordinator for the event, which was made possible in part by the 40 volunteers from MSU and the surrounding area. Falls Down has been involved with the AIC for two years now, having acted as secretary and treasurer for the organization in the past.
Falls Down first got involved with the organization because of the support it provided him. “Being Native American on campus I sort of gravitated towards the organization because they provided a support group for being native,” he said.
The AIC is a MSU group dedicated to raising awareness of American Indian culture and creating fellowship among both American Indians and the surrounding communities. As it did for Falls Down, AIC brings students together through work that showcases their culture. He emphasized that the goal of AIC is to “bridge the MSU community and the Bozeman community through events like the powwow.”
Falls Down noted the range of volunteers that he worked with during the powwow. He said, “It was a wide variety.” He said that the event was impactful for the volunteers who had not experienced one before. “A lot of them did walk away with a healthy appreciation for the powwow,” he said. AIC offers the event with no admission charge, and volunteers play a vital role in making that possible.
Initially, he became involved with the powwow because he had never been a part of one before coming to MSU. “I wanted to learn the ropes in case I’m involved with other powwows,” he said.
AIC’s annual powwow first began in 1975, and was not held on campus. These early powwows were held at the rodeo grounds on the north side of Bozeman. The event was eventually moved to campus and was held in the Shroyer Gymnasium until it outgrew that venue and was moved to the fieldhouse in 2001.
Falls Down encouraged all students and community members who are interested to get involved with AIC. He said, “We always need help, so any students or people on campus want to help out next year they definitely can.”
Those interested in working with the AIC are encouraged to contact Richard White at email@example.com.