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Shakopee, MN – A larger arena and more covered seating will be available at this year’s annual Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi (Pow Wow), Friday through Sunday, August 17, 18, and 19, 2012. The size of the arena has been increased and more seating has been added to accommodate growing crowds, drawn by the promise of good singing, dancing, and foods. This year, vendor booths will be relocated to the west side of the arena, in a new, more consolidated area. A Talking Circle is being added and a new announcer stand and Elders seating area have been constructed.
Hundreds of dancers and singers from across the country are expected to gather at this year’s event held at the Wacipi Grounds on the SMSC reservation, located on Dakotah Parkway, just south of County Road 42 between County Road 83 and County Road 17. The public is invited to attend.
A homecoming of sorts, a Wacipi is a social gathering where American Indian friends and relatives come together to celebrate their culture and way of life. Many choose to return every year to enjoy the dancers in their regalia, the singers at the drum, good food, and booths with arts and crafts for sale. Traditional moccasin games will also be played by Native American teams. The word Wacipi [wah-chee-pee] in the Dakota Language translates as “they dance.” A more common term is “Pow Wow.”
The Wacipi will feature vendors with arts, crafts, beadwork, jewelry, quillwork, and traditional foods for sale, including frybread, wojapi (berry pudding), wild rice, hominy soup, buffalo burgers, Indian tacos, and much more.
Host drums at this year’s Wacipi are Wahpekute (South Dakota) and Mazakute (Nebraska). Invited Northern Drums are Young Kingbird (Minnesota), Young Bear (North Dakota), Rocky Boy Agency (Montana), Iron Boy (Minnesota), Meskwaki Nation (Iowa), Blackfoot Crossing (Alberta), and Mountain Soul (Alberta). Invited Southern Drums are Young Bird (Oklahoma), Yellow Jacket (Colorado), and Sizzortail (Oklahoma).
Grand Entries will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Fireworks will be held at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, 2012, at the Pow Wow Grounds and a church service will be held on Sunday, August 19, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. at nearby Tiowakan Spiritual Center.
Pow wow buttons will be available for $5 at the gate. Buttons include admission for the entire weekend and two free meals: an evening meal on Saturday served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and lunch on Sunday from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Admission is free to elders 60 and older and children 10 and under. Parking is free with shuttle service from Mystic Lake Casino also provided.
Dance Exhibition, Veterans Honoring at Mall of America
Visitors to Mall of America will have the opportunity to watch Native American singers and dancers perform at a dance exhibition in the Rotunda on Thursday, August 16, 2012. Dancers from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and other Indian reservations from across the United States will perform in the dance exhibitions as a preview to the annual SMSC Wacipi which begins the next day in Shakopee.
Traditional music will be provided at the dance exhibition by both a northern and a southern drum group for dancers in full regalia. The exhibition dancing will be held at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and is narrated by a Master of Ceremony. In addition to a Grand Entry Song, a Flag Song and Veterans Song will be sung as well as songs for each dance category.
In a special event at 3:30 p.m., there will be a program honoring veterans who have served in the United States military. In previous years, this has been a ceremony which has in particular helped Vietnam and older veterans to feel proud of their service in spite of the public perception at the time of their return. During this special time, the story of American Indians and their willingness to serve will be featured. The Sisseton Wahpeton Vietnam Veterans Color Guard will participate along with other veterans but both Native American and non-Native American veterans are invited to participate in this event and be honored for their service.
Visitors to the MOA will also see a traditional Dakota tipi, which will be on display in the Sears Court during the exhibition.
For more information on the Wacipi or the dance exhibition at the Mall of America, go to www.shakopeedakota.org , find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/shakopeepowwow , or call the Shakopee Wacipi Information Line at 952-392-8964. Vendor booths are by invitation only.