The Plains Indian Museum Powwow, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s longest-running public program, celebrates its 35th year on June 18 and 19. The event brings together Native dancers, drum groups, and families, along with artisans and appreciative spectators to share and celebrate the Native cultures of the Plains.
The Powwow takes place at the Robbie Powwow Garden on the Center’s grounds Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, with grand entries at noon and 6 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. After a welcome from Center officials and an opening prayer by Heywood Big Day Sr., host drum White Bull from Riverton, Wyoming, sing flag and victory songs.
Competitive dancing begins after the posting of flags by color guard Apsáalooke Nation Guard from Crow Agency, Montana. Arena Director for this year’s Powwow is Chico Her Many Horses, and Master of Ceremonies is Corky Old Horn. An honoring for Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow takes place Saturday evening after the 6 p.m. grand entry.
Vendor booths surround the perimeter of the garden and feature authentic Native-made arts, jewelry, photography, beadwork, and more.
Dancers range in age from Tiny Tots (children 6 and younger) to Golden Age (55 and older). Competitive dance categories include traditional, grass, and fancy for men and boys; and traditional, fancy shawl, and jingle for women and girls. Specials include Women’s Fancy, Men’s Traditional, Men’s Chicken Dance, and Team Dancing.
Tickets (separate from Center of the West general admission) for the Plains Indian Museum Powwow are available at the gate on the southeast corner of the Center’s grounds the days of the event (good for one day only), and at the Center’s admissions desk for the week preceding. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $10 for adults 18 and older; $5 for youths 7 to 17; and free for children 6 and younger.
Center of the West members receive a $1 discount with a valid membership card. Dancers and drums participating in the Powwow, as well as their family members, are admitted free.
The Powwow Garden is an outdoor grass amphitheater with limited bleacher seating; visitors may bring lawn chairs or blankets. In addition to the arts vendors, the Powwow also features fry bread and Indian taco vendors, Kettle Korn, and other food and beverage concessions.
The Plains Indian Museum Powwow is sponsored through the generous support of Choice Aviation; Artie Yellowstone Jewelry; Coca Cola Distributing of Cody, Hal and Amalia Ranser; Whole Foods Trading Company in Cody, Wyoming; and The Local. For general visitor information about the Center of the West and information about Center events and programs, visit centerofthewest.org or e-mail [email protected].
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently operating its summer schedule, open daily 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.