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Arapahoe grounds restored in time for powwow
Aug 29, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
After a fire engulfed the announcer's stand at the Northern Arapaho powwow grounds in 2008, a committee elevated its ideas and put its plans to work so future powwows could be held in a newly renovated arena.
Volunteers from the Northern Arapaho Powwow Committee worked together to get the stand and arbor ready in time to house what they call the oldest powwow in Wyoming, the 57th Annual Northern Arapaho Powwow.
"This is going to be a long-term endeavor for us; we want to be able to use material that will last longer," said Cassie Soldier Wolf, vice president of the powwow committee. "People will have something to look forward to."
The powwow committee recognized the abundance of support from the Northern Arapaho Tribal Committee and the tribe's business council. The committee consists of president Eloise Yellowbear, secretary and treasurer Rae Friday, feast coordinator Elizabeth FourBear, giveaways coordinator Faye SoldierWolf and sergeant of arms Archie BigMedicine.
Preparations are under way for the powwow, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The theme will be "honoring the elders." Early registration opens Thursday.
There will be several family games, giveaways before the grand entries, hand games, a parade Sunday, awards and royalty contests.
There also will be teen and adult dancing, and performances by the honored host drum group, the Arapahoe Eagle Drum. The point system will begin Friday and all decisions will be final. Everyone is welcome to an open feast at 1 p.m. Saturday and another at noon Sunday. Organizers are asking participating vendors to be supplied with their own water.
Organizers hope to attract young people and invite families to participate in the little warrior, queen and little princess contests.
"We're trying to keep that tradition going of the Arapaho people that sing and dance," Friday said.
Members said the first Northern Arapaho powwow dates to 1954 or 1955. Committee members have described the project as a "community effort" that has come with its share of struggles and frustrations. Still, with excessive donated time and money, committee members said the grounds will have a traditional look.
For more information on the powwow and ways to help or attend, call (323) 807-6444 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.