The Oglala Nation Pow Wow & Rodeo is held the first weekend in August at the powwow grounds at Pine Ridge. There is a gate fee, set by the Tribal Office early in the year. Call the Pine Ridge Chamber of Commerce (605/455-2685), the Tribal Office (605/867-5821 ext. 222 or 227), or visit the Oglala Sioux website for directions and more information.
A powwow is a community celebration and dance competition. Be sure to be on time for the grand entry, which is the opening ceremony for the powwow. It is a swirl of color and movement as contestants from each dance category enter the powwow grounds. Watch for the incredibly beautiful beadwork on the deerskin dresses of the traditional women dancers.
Listen to the jingle of the hundreds of tiny bell-like jingle cones sewn on each dress of the jingle dancers. Enjoy the sinuous movements of the grass dancers and the flashing swirl of color and movement that announce the arrival of the fancy dancers.
The dances are performed to drums and the dancers are judged on their poise, footwork, demeanor, and showmanship. The powwow is held outside and chairs are not provided, so be sure to bring something to sit on.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition