NDSU students chosen to be head dancers at annual quad-college powwow
Published March 21, 2012
NDSU students Thomas Bluestone and Kelsey Peltier have been dancing at powwows since they were old enough to walk.
Bluestone, member of Three Affiliated Tribes, and Peltier, member of the Turtle Mountain Tribe, will be head dancers for the first time at the 23rd Annual Woodlands and High Plains Traditional Powwow scheduled for Saturday, March 24, in the Bison Sports Arena at NDSU.
Bluestone, a junior majoring in criminal justice from New Town, N.D., and Peltier, a sophomore majoring in psychology from Dunseith, N.D., describe a powwow as a celebration and an opportunity to learn about Native American culture and history.
As head dancers, Bluestone will lead the men, and Peltier will lead the women in the grand entry and in the dances. There will be three dance categories for men, and three parallel categories for women. Each dance tells a story.
Bluestone, a traditional and grass dancer, said the stories vary from tribe to tribe. The men’s traditional dance tells stories of hunts or battles. His grass dance is about men flattening grass for camp while away from their village. The grass dance also can be a healing dance, he said.
Peltier participates in the fancy shawl or butterfly dance. Her regalia has symmetrical beadwork resembling the wings of a butterfly and eagle feathers on the sleeves. When she dances, her arms are outstretched like she is flying.
Sponsored by NDSU, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead, the powwow is held on a different campus each year. Bluestone, president of the Native American Student Association, encourages NDSU students to take advantage of this year’s location. “This may be the only time during your academic career that the powwow will be held on your home campus,” he said.
Doors will open at 11 a.m., and grand entry will be at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. The master of ceremonies will be Mickey Hodges, member of the White Earth Tribe in Minnesota, and the arena director will be Chris Peltier, member of the Turtle Mountain Tribe in North Dakota. The spiritual adviser will be Clifford Canku, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe and assistant professor of practice for Dakota Studies at NDSU. The host drum will be the Buffalo River Drum Group from Fargo. The honor guard will be from the White Earth Tribe in Minnesota.
Admission is free for children five and younger, $2 for children ages 6 to 18 and $3 for adults ages 19 to 54. Admission is free for adults 55 and older. Admission also is free for students who present a valid student ID from one of the sponsoring colleges.