Sunday, September 8, 2013

A New Experience - The United Tribes International Powwow

We did something new as a family this weekend - we went to the United Tribes International Powwow. This year marks 44 years that the United Tribes Technical College here in Bismarck has hosted the huge event. Seventy tribes are represented at the event with over 1,500 dancers and drummers coming from all over the world to participate. The event draws over 20,000 spectators from Thursday through Sunday and the Bousfields were part of the crowd this year.
Over 1,500 dancers participate in the Powwow
It all started when Faith's class went to the event on a field trip. Unfortunately, it is hard to get a wheelchair to the arena where all the action takes place because there are no sidewalks and one has to push a chair through the grass which can be hard, especially when it is hot and humid outside with bees swarming everywhere. Her aid ending up not being able to get Faith to join her classmates at the arena. Faith was pretty upset about this and about her dad taking her home early. All she talked about was how she wanted to go back to the powwow. 

I had no idea what to expect because I had never attended the event before. It cost $12 per person to get into the event but a very gracious man allowed Faith to get in for free. Then there was the matter of finding a parking spot - it's worse than the 4th of July parade in Mandan!

On our third time circling through, I began to pray that a spot would open up for us. Wouldn't you know it, as we crossed an intersection, a car was just pulling out close to the arena. God even answers parking prayers!
Rob managed to get Faith in her chair to the main arena - a place she couldn't get to the day before
I can see why Faith's aid had a hard time getting her chair over the terrain but Rob was able to push her chair towards the grandstands and we found a pretty good spot that enabled to see everything. We got there just in time for the drumming/singing contest which was very cool. You can click on my video below to check it out. They then divided the dancers up into different age groups and categories for the dancing contest. The costumes the dancers wore were so beautiful and intricately made.

It was an awe-inspiring experience being in the midst of so many Native Americans who are so proud of their heritage and who have a desire to keep their traditions. And we got to experience it all because Faith's field trip didn't  pan out as she hoped. She was bound and determined that her chair was not going to keep her from missing out on the powwow and because of that, it was a great new experience for the three of us!
The Grand Entry
The singing contest was my favorite part
Absolutely amazing traditional costumes
Dancers ranged in ages under five to over 50
Click the play button to view video

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