Friday, June 28, 2024

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With nearly 30,000 Native American residents and five tribal nations, North Dakota is rich in indigenous culture. Throughout the year, especially in late summer and early fall, the state hosts numerous events that welcome everyone to experience Native American traditions.

Little Shell Powwow

Held August 9-11 in New Town, the Little Shell Powwow is North Dakota’s second largest, with dance specials for all age groups. Credit: North Dakota Tourism/Brian Heskin

Authentic cultural experiences

North Dakota offers a variety of Native American cultural experiences, including powwows, museums, cultural centers and tribal lands. Powwows, most held in late June to early September, and the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tourism Indian Horse Relay are highlights.

Attend a powwow

Powwows are multi-day festivals with song and dance performances, traditional foods, and arts and crafts vendors. Upcoming powwows in North Dakota include:

  • July 4-6: Turtle Mountain Chief Little Shell, Dunseth – Celebrates Native American culture and heritage.
  • July 12-14: Arikara Celebration, White Shield – celebrates the historic connection between the Arikara and Pawnee tribes.
  • July 19-21: Mandari Celebration Powwow, Mandari – Featuring song and drum competitions, dance specials and vendors.
  • July 26-28: Fort Totten Days Celebration, Fort Totten – Includes 5K fun run, moccasin games and singing contest.
  • August 8: Battle of the Great Plains — Chicken Dance, New Town – Highlights the intricate chicken dance by the MHA Nation.
  • August 9-11: Little Shell Celebration/Antelope Society, New Town – offers a dance special under the lights and an evening finale.
  • Aug. 30-Sept. 1: Turtle Mountain Labor Day Powwow, Belcourt – combines competition and tradition.
  • September 6-8: United Tribes International Powwow, Bismarck – One of the largest celebrations of Native American culture in the nation.

Indian Horse Relay

Returning for its third year, the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tourism Indian Horse Relay takes place on July 23, 2024 at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot. This thrilling race showcases Native American athletes’ skills and coordination in a dramatic, multi-lap event. The relay includes an intermission performance that enriches the atmosphere with Native American cultural heritage.

Historical sites and museums

North Dakota’s five tribal nations have deep roots in the state, celebrated in various places:

  • Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center: Preserves the cultures of the Chippewa, Cree and Metis.
  • Spirit Lake Nation: Near Fort Totten, take a look at tribal history with the Fort Totten State Historic Site.
  • North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum, Bismarck: Home to a large collection of Plains Indian artifacts and a Native American Hall of Honor.
  • Double Ditch Indian Village, Bismarck: Mandan displays visible frustration and interpretive signs about Indian history.
  • Chief Looking Village, Huff Indian Village State Historic Site and Knife River Indian Village National Historic Site: Plains provide authentic insights into Indian life.
  • Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park: Features an on-a-slant Indian Village with a reconstructed lodge.
  • Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway: Traces the Lewis and Clark route along the Missouri River, with historic sites along the way.

Explore these and more to immerse yourself in North Dakota’s rich Native American culture.

Tags: American Events, Attend a Powwow, Authentic Cultural Experiences, Bismarck, Little Shell Powwow, Missouri River, National Historic Site, Native American, North Dakota, North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway, Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center

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