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Black Hills Powwow: A Kaleidoscope of Color

In early October, I enjoyed the privilege of attending the Black Hills Powwow. The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center hosted hundreds of dancers, singers, artisans and athletes from our region. It was a rich and enlightening to experience  what dance means to the Native American Culture.

Black Hills Powwow Dancers Grand Entry  (12)blog_0.jpg

As I walked into the powwow, the air outside felt like a normal day with another event hosted by the Civic Center, with its full parking lot and people all over the place. Upon entering the building, everything changed. I was surrounded by an endless variety of color; I had to step aside for a minute and take in the spectacle. The jingle dresses, feathered headdresses, and an assortment of other regalia is merely a glimpse at the extensive culture being celebrated through this event.

Black Hills Powwow Dancers Grand Entry  (15)blog.jpg

From the entrance, I journeyed around the arena, taking in rows of traditional drum groups and listening to the Lead Singers prepping their singers. Observing bleachers filled with families and spectators supporting the art and culture that surrounds them and passing vendor booths in the surrounding halls. Then it was time to enjoy the Grand March. Flags from many nations were held high by tribal leaders and members of our United States military in uniform; everyone watched with respect and pride.

Black Hills Powwow Dancers Grand Entry  (6)blog.jpg

Dancers come to this event from Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota, and some might come from farther still. Having traveled around the Midwest to photograph various powwows and other cultural events, I was able to reacquaint myself with many familiar faces. Most dancers at The Black Hills Powwow were winners from regional dances, so everyone who participates is already a winner, this event was truly filled with some of the best.

Black Hills Powwow Dancers Grand Entry  (13)blog.jpg

Black Hills Powwow Dancers Grand Entry  (14)blog.jpg

From the youth jingle dress dancers to elders, the beautiful dancers go round and round for all to see. At one end the MC guides a team of judges throughout the duration of the multi-day event. The judges watch from vantage points and amongst the dancers, one category and style of dance after another. Selecting the dancers that stand out, judges award individuals as the day goes on.

Black Hills Powwow Dancers Grand Entry  (16)blog.jpg

After enjoying the kaleidoscope of color, I said farewell to the families I knew and am looking forward to seeing them again next year.  If you miss this year, be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s event. When you go, make sure you share your experience on social media using #VisitRapidCity!

 

Meet the Author

Kris Monroe

Kris, a South Dakota native, regularly travels from coast to coast in pursuit of the next creative endeavor but always returns to the Black Hills to enjoy the solitude and beauty that is hardly rivaled by other areas of the country. 

Documenting events and capturing stories where ever he goes, you won't find him without a camera nearby. From Netflix to a photo shoot next door, creating a story through crafting images is one passion driving him through life. No matter which National Park He and Elsie, his dog, are enjoying they always love coming home to the Black Hills. 

latest blog posts

Kris Monroe
Guest Blogger

Kris, a South Dakota native, regularly travels from coast to coast in pursuit of the next creative endeavor but always returns to the Black Hills to enjoy the solitude and beauty that is hardly rivaled by other areas of the country. 

Documenting events and capturing stories where ever he goes, you won't find him without a camera nearby. From Netflix to a photo shoot next door, creating a story through crafting images is one passion driving him through life. No matter which National Park He and Elsie, his dog, are enjoying they always love coming home to the Black Hills. 

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