History of the Wacipi/Pow-wow

The wacipi (or pow wow), as we the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations call our celebrations, have evolved from the reservation days to now which includes new art and designs constantly appearing and changing from year to year.

The dance styles, dress and music you will see at our wacipi celebrations show the most beautiful and colorful finery, elaborate feather work, intricate beadwork that go with many different dance steps and dance styles beginning with our young children, teenagers, young men, young ladies, to the older men and women.

The wacipi as practiced in the Plains region is a social event which can last one to many days and is the time when Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota tribal people conduct Honorings, giveaways, family gatherings and when friends meet, camp, visit and reconnect as tribal nations.

During the summer months, the wacipi celebration is usually held outdoors with a shade or cover area where the audience and dancers sit under while the center area space is reserved for the dancing. Dances are either for men or women, and competitions are divided into age categories. The dancers dance in a clockwise direction when they are in the arena area and ultimately represents the circle of unity, the never-ending cycle of life. Singers are usually under or adjacent to the shade or covered area between the audience and the dance area. The wacipi singers are a very important part of wacipi. Without the singers and the rhythm of the drumbeat, there would be no dance. They sing many types of songs: honor and family, war and conquest, songs of joy, encouragement, humor and mourning.

Wacipi Teachings (or protocol)

1. Please stand when the Grand Entry processional is entering the dance arena. This is when the wacipi begins, when the dancers enter the wacipi arena dressed in full regalia and dance their particular dance category.

2. Please continue to stand with respect when the Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota national anthem or flag song is being sung. If you are wearing a hat then please remove it and you will also need to do this when an eagle feather is dropped and when a song is sung for the feather also.

3. Please do not try to talk to the dancers when they are dancing. Wait until they are off to the side or on the outside of the shade area. Ask for permission to take a photograph, some will and maybe some won't for various reasons. But always check beforehand.

4. Never pick up a piece of a dancer's outfit. Point the item to the dancer and they will pick it up.

5. If you have further questions regarding video taping or recording the singing, go to the announcers area and ask for a member of the wacipi committee who will give you the appropriate answers to your questions.

6. Some dance arenas do have permanent seating, but at times these seats will fill up. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on just in case.

7. Don't touch any of the costumes worn by the dancers. Respectfully and politely ask for permission if you want to look closer at their costume.

8. The master of ceremonies welcomes non-Indian visitors to join in and dance with the dancers during intertribal dancing.

9. Be open-minded and willing to learn, share, enjoy and dance with Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribal people who continue to uphold and continue the wacipi ways.

Taken from ATTA


For a comprehensive list of Wacipi Events, please go to News and Events.

All dates are subject to change. Please contact Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for more information: (701) 854-8500 Ext:186

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