Powwow celebration

Minot State University honored retiring President David Fuller on Saturday during the Spring Honor Dance and Powwow Celebration at the MSU Dome.

Fuller was set to participate in a leadership dance during the Grand Parade of Dancers Saturday evening. Doreen Lyons, Irene Stevenson and their family hosted the Crow special honoring. Crow announcer Stanley Pretty Paint was the main speaker and the Crow Drum Group, Night Hawks Jrs., was the host drum for the honoring of Fuller.

The annual event also honored all of the spring graduates of Minot State University. There are 17 Native American students graduating in May.

“Our main focus is to honor our graduates,” said Annette Mennem, director of the Native American Cultural Awareness Center at the university.

But the powwow is also a competition and a social gathering for dancers from across the Midwest and Canada.

“Minot State University is one of the first on the powwow circuit,” said Mennem, an MSU graduate herself and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Competitors compete in different age groups and different categories. For the women, the categories are traditional, fancy and jingle; for the men, the categories are traditional, fancy and grass.

“The dancers are athletes,” said Mennem. “They have to be in good shape to (dance).”

Many dancers travel to powwows across the country to compete in different competitions.

Some come just for the fun of it. During an open dance, parents and grandparents led toddlers in regalia onto the floor and watched the kids bounce up and down.

Other kids, some wearing regalia and others in jeans and T-shirts, ran through the Dome playing and finding mischief to get into.

The event also features vendors and informational booths set up by university and community groups. Mennem said the Native American Cultural Awareness Center brought in a professional photographer this year for the first time to take pictures of families in full regalia.

This was the 25th powwow at the university.