American Indian Council News & Events

MSU Powwow Brings Cultural Diversity to Bozeman

40th Annual MSU AIC Powwow

The sounds of clattering bells, rustling beads and thrumming drums echoed around the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on Saturday as hundreds of American Indians celebrated the 40th annual American Indian Council Powwow.

The two-day event included singing and pageant competitions, as well as a basketball tournament. But the highlight was the daily “Grand Entry,” where dozens of American Indians, dressed in a rainbow of beaded skirts, masks and elaborate feather headdresses, danced their way to the middle of the floor to the beat of traditional drum and song.

The participants were young and old, men and women, and came from tribes as far afield as Oklahoma and Arizona.

“There’s lots and lots of negative things that are after our people,” said Jason Goodstriker of the Kainai in Alberta, referencing the pervasive mental health and addiction issues that plague American Indians. “But this is our defense, this is how we protect our people.”

On the whole, the event was celebratory. One participant’s T-shirt, which read: “You even pww bro?” summed up the lighthearted atmosphere.

The stands were filled with a number of non-natives, something that stood out to many of the traveling American Indians.

“There is a lot of community support here. It’s a great event,” said Joanne Seesequasis, a member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe in Wyoming.

Seesequasis tended one of many booths set up around the perimeter of the floor, where vendors sold everything from 3D wolf pictures to wrapped bundles of sage.

The 49-year-old, who was selling acrylic painted rawhide earrings, said the area’s cultural intelligence helped set the MSU powwow apart.

“There are a lot of people who are artsy. People appreciate the art here. It’s different,” she said.

Roger Herron of the Kul Wicasa Oyate mirrored this sentiment, saying he was able to convince a large group of locals on the street to come to the event.

“This is a teaching tool for the uneducated, and it’s very important because of the cultural diversity here,” Herron said.

For many vendors like Seesequasis and Herron, traveling around the country to powwows and conventions represents a full time job. Herron said he sells his goods — mostly hand-wrought silver jewelry — at around 50 events each year, ranging from Florida to New Mexico.

But despite this, he said Bozeman’s event is special.

“Compared to ours back home this is 95 percent better. The crowd turnout is great and it’s very well organized,” Herron said. “This [powwow] has a great track record, a great history and I’m definitely coming back.”

"Thanksmas" Dinner   Nov. 2014

The American Indian Council hosted a "Thanksmas" dinner on Thursday, November 20, 2014.  The Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinner is combined, since most students head home during both holidays.  This year was huge turn-out, as we fed nearly one hundred people.  The dinner is for our Native American community in the Bozeman area.  The event was a pot-luck, so there was a variety of dishes served and everyone left with a full belly!

The dinner was enhanced by Moving Talent Forward, who's artists brought their original paintings for our viewing pleasure, as well as some musical entertainment!

food  paintings

 piano  MTF

singing  kade

Updated: 6/16/2015