45th Annual United Tribes International Powwow Attracts Billy Mills & Shoni Schimmel

Atlanta Dream Shoni Schimmel (Umatilla) Greets fans in Indian country at United Tribes International Powwow.

Atlanta Dream Shoni Schimmel (Umatilla) Greets fans in Indian country at United Tribes International Powwow.

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA – Beautiful powwow weather, world-class guests and top-quality competition highlighted the 45th Annual United Tribes International Powwow, “Home of the Champions.”

The powwow theme, “We Are All Related,” was universally embraced by participants and visitors. Distinguished visitors to the event included Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota); former vice presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket, Winona LaDuke (White Earth Anishinaabe); and Women’s NBA All-Star Shoni Schimmel (Umatilla Confederated Tribes) of the WNBA Atlanta Dream.

The gathering held September 4-7 at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck featured contestants from 70 different tribes and 14 states and Canadian provinces.

POWWOW HIGHLIGHTS

Sunny days with temps reaching into the 80s and overnight lows in the upper 40s made for comfortable camping and powwow conditions. Lone Star Arena offered well-cushioned grass, courtesy of UTTC’s groundskeepers.

Miss Indian Nations, Alexandria Alvarez (Shoshone-Bannock), Fort Hall, ID, sponsored a mother and daughter dance special and give-away to mark the end of her one-year reign as a cultural ambassador.

Junior Boy’s Traditional dancers at United Tribes.   GREG POLLERT<>United Tribes News

Junior Boy’s Traditional dancers at United Tribes. GREG POLLERT<>United Tribes News

The U. S. National Anthem was rendered sweetly by eight-year-old Amani Netterville of Theodore Jamerson Elementary School. Keith Big Crow (Three Affiliated) made a repeat appearance this year playing the Anthem Jimi Hendrix style on his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar.

The event was attended by a group of international tour operators from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Australia, and Switzerland. The visitors were on a planning tour hosted and coordinated by the Rocky Mountain International Marketing Group and North Dakota Tourism.

Journalists from New Zealand and Canada covered the event, along with tribal press and media, and representatives from local news outlets.

Over the four-days, powwow paid attendance was estimated at 6,000 to 7,000 people.

PARADE OF CHAMPIONS

The “Parade of Champions” enjoyed beautiful weather and many spectators along its route through downtown Bismarck. Grand marshal was Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills, accompanied by his wife Pat.

Participating were 221 dancers, five drums, and 25 registered entries from various tribes, local businesses, non-profit groups, and political parties. Veterans groups honored the event, and some floats joined-in as non-registered participants.

Best Overall Entry/Theme went to MHA’s Brian White Tail and Aletha Morsette and the powwow princess riding in a vintage car. Named Best Youth/Cultural Group was Lakho Piyhapi Wahohip (Lakota Language Nest) featuring Lakota-speaking preschoolers. Best Horse Group was the Heart Roping Club with carts pulled by Shetland ponies. The Mandaree Drum claimed the award for Best Drum/Dancer entry.

The Classtiques Car Club and Stan Puklich Chevrolet volunteered their time and beautiful cars. Three horse groups participated. Volunteers and staff did an excellent job of helping present culture and diversity to the town audience as an outreach of the powwow.

POWWOW RUN

Billy Mills inspired a gathering of 90 runners with the memory of his 1964 win in Tokyo as he fired the starting gun for two events in the THUNDERBIRD Powwow Run. The only American to ever win Olympic Gold in the 10,000 meter race was encouraging and approachable, signing autographs and posing with runners for photos before the events.

Gold Medal Olympian Billy Mills started the THUNDERBIRD Run races at UTTC.      DENNIS J.NEUMANN<>United Tribes News

Gold Medal Olympian Billy Mills started the THUNDERBIRD Run races at UTTC. DENNIS J.NEUMANN<>United Tribes News

Kyle Downs of Bismarck ran a personal best of 32:10 to win the 10K race, while Andy Nielsen, also of Bismarck, turned in a 17:01 to claim the 5K honor.

Top female finishers were: Camie Anderson, 41:16, fourth overall in the 10K and Jessilynn Long Feather, 23:25, 11th overall in the 5K.

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  1. Louise Spetman 3 years ago