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Photo of person looking at tribal dress on a coat hanger
Scene from the 30th Annual United Tribes Powwow Program

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United Tribes Powwow
A Local Legacy

Powwows are a way for Indian tribes to preserve their culture and hand down traditions. They are Indian ceremonies or social gatherings that include dance competitions and music. The United Tribes Powwow in Bismarck, North Dakota, has been held every year since 1969. The United Tribes are the five tribes in North Dakota: the Spirit Lake, the Sisseton-Wahpton Sioux, the Standing Rock Sioux, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, and the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold. Performers wear colorful outfits of their tribe.

More than 1,500 traditional dancers perform to more than 40 drum groups at the United Tribes Powwow. Women might perform the fancy shawl dance. Dancers wear beautifully decorated shawls as they do kicks and twirls. This dance is challenging because it requires fast movements. Male dancers might perform the grass dance. A grass dancer wears an outfit with long strands of fabric hanging off it. He would also wear a roach, a kind of headdress with two feathers that rock or twirl as he dances.

There is also an Indian Art Expo and Market at the powwow where Indian artists gather to show their traditional work, such as pottery, jewelry, beadwork, and paintings.

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