With indigenous drumming, dancing and performances by the GRAMMY-nominated drum group Northern Cree, the 42nd annual American Indian Council Pow Wow will take place this weekend, April 14-15 in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
The first session starts Friday at 6 p.m., followed by two more sessions on Saturday at noon and 6 p.m. Drummers and dancers representing mainly Northwestern American Indian tribes will compete throughout the sessions to garner points to win the best dance or drum group.
According to Ty Show, the American Indian Council (AIC) co-president, drum groups will be scored partly on their harmony, ideally sounding like they are playing one drum. He and the other executives at the AIC student group are excited to host the famous Northern Cree drum group.
The dance groups will represent several different categories of dance for men and women, wearing dress to match the style. According to Show, there are two ways to approach the dances: a contemporary approach where dancers make up the moves, or a traditional approach with moves that have been practiced for over 100 years.
“I’ve seen people win the dance contest being contemporary or traditional,” Show said. “It just depends on who the judges are.”
Terry Bradley, the AIC director, said that admission is free, despite the Powwow being the biggest cultural event for not only Bozeman, but for all of Montana.
“We actually make it a priority to fundraise that money so we can keep it free to the public,” Bradley said. The AIC raises the necessary $40,000, plans and executes the Powwow which is a lot of work, both Bradley and Show agreed.
But it’s worth it for the two AIC executives.
“It’s a weekend where we get to share our culture with, not just with ourselves,” Show said, “but with the greater community as well.”