“I grew up with them, my grandma grew up with them, and her grandma, and it’s just been forever,” Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe Member Nelenah Greyeyes said.
Tribes from across the country are participating in the 51st annual powwow at the United Tribes Technical College.
“It runs in our system where we need to dance,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member Steve Yellowearrings said.
Last year, the powwow was canceled due to COVID-19, but now tribal members say they are happier than ever to participate again.
“Everyone was sad. Everyone missed getting together, I miss getting together with everyone and just enjoying the people,” Greyeyes said.
Yellowearrings says some of the dances consist of the women’s fancy, a higher tempo for dancing for spinning, jingle, which is a healing dance and traditional, which is his style of dancing.
“It’s a respectable category that you have to hold yourself up high because all of your traditions and the families that you represent, you represent them in the manner of the tradition,” Yellowearings said.
Nelenah Greyeyes said she has been dancing her entire life.
“My mom and grandmother took me to the powwow, they had an outfit ready for me and it’s kind of time-consuming and it’s a lot of money, but it’s worth it in the long run. You just get involved,” Greyeyes said.
Yellowearrings said he enjoys seeing the powwow help others become informed on the Native American culture.
“We’re not against anybody and we’re willing to share our teachings to other ethnic groups,” Yeallowearrings said.
Greyeyes is excited and hopes to see more powwows go uninterrupted.
“I am super happy, but I hope people are staying safe and using their hand sanitizer and if you’re giving hugs make sure that you’re safe. I want to continue pow-wowing even next year, I hope they’re not canceled next year,” Greyeyes said.
About 10,000 dancers participated in the powwow this weekend, which ended with an awards ceremony Sunday night for the best dancers.