By Logan J. Davis
The 6th Annual Arikara Celebration and Pow Wow this year was advertised as a two-day event with no pow wow on Sunday. It turned out that the celebrations actually took place on Sunday. The singing and dancing this year did not finish up until about 3:00 in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The people who attended on Saturday night and stayed up enjoyed all of the dancing and singing so much, it was quite possible no one really cared how late it got.
The well-attended Arikara Celebration this year had all of the kinds of attractions that make for a great pow wow. The host color guard was the Young Hawk Bear Post 253 with other veterans groups taking part in all of the grand entries. The 2021 Pow Wow Princess for the Arikara Celebration was Haley Mae Bearstail and the Junior Princess was Love Hopkins. The host drums for the event in White Shield was Dead Grass, Yellow Face and Ree Scouts. The Head Man Dancer was Poncho Brady, Mylo Spotted Bear was the Flag Bearer and Miley White Bear was the Drum Keeper. Announcers Charlie Moran, Lawrence Baker and Jerry Dearly kept everyone up to date on the dancing and specials while being the entertaining personalities that they are known for at many pow wows.
The energy was great at the Arikara Celebration and the vendors and food stands were busy places for anyone who wanted a great snack or glass of cold lemonade or to purchase a memento for the event. There were many reunions and new friendships made during the celebration and the colorful dancers were wonderful images to carry home for all who were there for any length of time.
It was a traditional pow wow this year, so all singers and dancers were paid. However, there were many specials that offered competition for prizes in different dance categories. There was also a singing contest sponsored by the White Shield Segment Office totaling $6.000. Tribal Chairman Mark Fox sponsored the Tiny Tot Special on Friday night and there was a Men and Women Veteran Dance Special sponsored by Richard White Bear “Bear Chief”, Chief of the Arikara. Flag raising were conducted for veterans Evan Gillette, Ben Heart, and Eugene Spotted Horse on Saturday morning and a second Tiny Tot Special was held on Saturday sponsored by Young Warrior. Chief Richard White Bear also sponsored a Women’s Old-Style Fancy Shawl event. A Junior Girl’s Traditional Special was sponsored by Junior Princess Love Hopkins.
According to Austin Gillette, who is a member of the Arikara Celebration and Pow Wow Committee, there were 404 dancers at this year’s event in White Shield. Gillette emphasized that the committee required all vendors to have on-site rapid COVID-19 testing each day to protect all of their customers and White Shield Segment.