Here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country we take authenticity seriously, and I am living proof.
Take a look in my closet and you’ll say, “You don’t have a lot of shoes, but your collection of cowboy boots sure is impressive.” Ditto for my hats and jeans. I would love to say the same for my shirts, but my Dan Miller t-shirt collection works against me.
Like everybody I know, I am a good horseback rider and can hold my own on the dance floor as long as the dances are line, square or two-step.
But when it comes to authenticity, we all take a back seat every June when the annual Plains Indian Museum Powwow comes to town. Held this year June 17 and 18 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Robbie Powwow Garden, the powwow is in its 36th year and is renowned for bringing together Native American dancers, drum groups, families, artisans and spectators.
I always make sure I have a good seat on the lawn for the grand entries which will start off this year with dance sessions at noon and 6 p.m. Saturday, June 17, and noon Sunday, June 18. As participants make their way into the powwow I am awestruck by the colorful and intricate clothing. Photographers absolutely love the entry and the dancing.
After the posting of flags by color guard Apsáalooke Nation Guard from Crow Agency, Mont., the competitive dancing begins. The arena director for this year’s Powwow is Chico Her Many Horses, and master of ceremonies is Corky Old Horn. Drummers this year will include Arapaho Nation, Fights Alone, Littleshield, Nighthawk Juniors, River Bottom and White Bull.
Dancers range in age from “Tiny Tots” (children six 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.
I also have never gotten away without doing a little shopping as vendor booths feature authentic Native-made arts, jewelry, photography, beadwork and more. And like the hot dog I always get at a baseball game, this will be my opportunity to indulge in some fry bread and Indian tacos available on site.
Admission to the Plains Indian Museum Powwow is separate from general admission to the Center itself. Tickets are good for one day and are available at the Powwow Garden gate during the event and at the Center’s admissions desk the week preceding. Tickets are $10 for adults 18 and older; $5 for youths seven to 17; and free for children six 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 to the Powwow and to the Center for the weekend.
The Plains Indian Museum Powwow is sponsored through the generous support of Choice Aviation; The Local; Whole Foods Trading Company in Cody, Wyoming; Artie Yellowhorse Jewelry; and Frontier Fortitude Photography.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and thinking I need yet another new pair of boots – in Cody, Wyo.