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October 9th through 11th, in Rapid City, is one of the premier cultural events in the region - the Black Hills Pow Wow. In it's 23rd year, the pow wow here in the Black Hills is a three day event filled with Native American dancing, drum groups, handgames and a variety of other events.

The event, held at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, is open to the public and held primarily indoors. Pow wows are incredible events that combine music, movement, dance and tradition to help tribal people reconnect and celebrate their cultural heritage.

If you've never been to a Native American pow wow before, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you fully appreciate the experience. The advice below comes from the Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates.

  • Attend with an open mind and be willing to learn and share in the event, when invited to do so.
  • Be respectful of all pow wow participants and their regalia. Don't touch any part of their outfit or take photos, unless you ask for permission first. If a piece of a dancer's regalia is dropped - leave it be. Let the dancer know and they will retrieve it on their own.
  • Pay attention to the master of ceremonies and stand during the grand entrance, honor songs and any other times when requested to do so.
  • Above all, enjoy the experience and if you are unsure of anything, be sure to ask a member of the pow wow committee for clarification.

If you are able to attend the Black Hills Pow Wow next weekend, you're guaranteed to be impressed by the event and will most likely learn something about Native American traditions in the process.

About the Author

Joe is a resident of Spearfish, S.D. He grew up in the tall-corn state of Iowa, where he developed an early interest in all things outdoors. After high school he moved to Vermillion, S.D., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising.

During his college years, two things caught his attention: the beauty of western South Dakota’s Black Hills and a girl from those Black Hills. After graduating from college, Joe traveled across the country as a recruiter for the University of South Dakota. He saw the sights from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and everywhere in between, but it was the Black Hills (and the girl) that kept drawing him back.

He and wife moved back to the Black Hills in 2008. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker and road cyclist whose future plans include trying to fit a pair of kayaks into the spare bedroom.

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