Jingle dresses, vendors and dancing took place at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Saturday and Sunday for the
45th annual Wacipi.
The theme of the Wacipi was “We All Walk on a Red Road.”
Selena Olvera, a sophomore studying Native American studies, said the event is important to her.
“We hold the Wacipi to a greater importance other than some other years because it’s the 45th,” Olvera said. “You have to make sure it’s bigger, we have more recognition for it, we have more people from all over come to it because it’s the 45th.”
Olvera said the Wacipi traditionally means the celebration of a new year, life and bringing everyone together from the Native culture to have a sense of community.
“(The events held at the Wacipi are) different dances that happen. For women’s we have traditional, jingle dress, fancy,” Olvera said. “For men it’s a lot of dancing specials. We have a lot of requests from a royalty, (they can either) do a special, dance by themselves or they can bring in other dancers in that category to dance along with them.”
During the Wacipi there are numerous vendors for attendees to visit. The USD Tiospaye Student Council also held a taco sale to fundraise for the Wacipi and for the whole organization.
“After last year’s pow wow, we set a date for this year’s (Wacipi),” she said. “My goal is to overlook everyone’s role and then get everything setup.”
The Wacipi used to be in the DakotaDome, but moved into the SCSC this year.
Christian Skunk, a sophomore studying political science and history, said the change was a “great addition for the pow wow.”
“It gives us more space to better represent the dancers, and (others) who have made their journey to the pow wow,”
That journey can be marked by the Wacipi’s main event, the grand entry. Skunk said the grand entry is a way for tribal members to make connections.
Cody Knudsen, a dancer at the Wacipi, said the event means a lot to him.
“(The dancers) work their butt off and they have the greatest dancing… We give them a round of applause because they show us respect and they know we’re there for them,” Knudsen said. “We’re there to protect our Indian family, our Indian way.”
Olvera said she wants USD students to learn about the Native culture by attending the Wacipi.
“These dances have been around for a very long time and the way some of the (dancers dance) tells a story as well,” Olvera said. “You just get to see what we did way back then is happening now.”