Casper College holds first-ever powwow

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
Image for press release for the Casper College Spring Powwow.

The Casper College Indigenous Student Alliance will host the first-ever Casper College powwow on Saturday, April 29, on Murane Field. The event is free and open to all. The powwow will run from 2-8 p.m., with the grand entry scheduled at 2 p.m. The powwow will feature dancers, singers, and drum groups.

According to ISA sponsor and political science instructor Daniel Gallegos, the alliance started small and quickly grew to about 10 members. Casper College student Lysander Blackbird began the club. Blackbird, club president, is a two-spirit of Northern Arapahoe and Assiniboine Sioux descent. He is an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Reservation.

According to Gallegos, Blackbird asked, “If the Thunderbird is the college’s mascot, is there a Native American club?” Blackbird soon discovered there was no club and started the process. “Eventually, I was approached and asked if I wanted to be their adviser, and I jumped at the opportunity,” said Gallegos.

One of the goals the club set was to have a traditional powwow on campus. “In a traditional powwow, the categories are still split up like in a contest powwow. However, dancers do not dance for prize money. They pray while they dance. They hold good intentions and thoughts for their people and family. It is also to help connect people and provide a time to socialize,” said Blackbird.

The ISA will present gift baskets to the drum groups. “It is an honor to have them travel to our location with their drum and have them sing for us. The focus is one of blessings for our families and honoring those who participated. The baskets symbolize items people use in their daily lives. We are saying we hope for their good health in their daily lives,” said Blackbird. The group also made Tiny Tot gift bags for the children in attendance. “I am very excited to see their joy when they open them,” Blackbird noted.

The powwow will feature dancers, singers, and drum groups. Herman “Manny” Vasquez will serve as master of ceremonies, and the arena is under the direction of Blackbird.

Murane Field is located west of the Casper College campus on College Drive.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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