NewsLocal News


Powwow event at MSU honors tribal nations this weekend, student performer explains "chicken dance"

Posted at 7:49 PM, Mar 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-03 11:39:07-04

The 47th Annual American Indian Council Powwow kicks off on Friday evening at Montana State University and organizers are preparing for a bigger turnout this year, a volunteer told MTN News.

“Historically, you know, tribes from all across the Americas have come together, danced together, shared culture and really just kind of embraced each other,” said John Murray, the volunteer coordinator. “We invite everyone from the state; everyone from Bozeman. So, everyone just comes here and they get to partake in all this culture.”

MSU freshman Titan Brockie is from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and is ready to dance during Saturday’s festivities, he shared.

“Chicken dancing is based off of a prairie chicken, the northern sage grouse. It originated up in… kind of Canada… up in that region. It's kind of older style. You're moving your arms [and] legs in unison, and you're kind of slower,” Brockie described.

Another important element to Brockie’s culture, he said, is the regalia, or clothing.

“You'll wear beaded regalia that somebody made for you. You'll have your moccasins. You'll have bells on and everything like that,” Brockie explained. “It takes a bit of time to get all decked out in your gear.”

From singing to dancing, to Indigenous foods and language, event organizers said this year will be different.

“We have had the most volunteers we've ever had this year. We had close to 200 people volunteer but we unfortunately couldn't schedule everyone,” Murray said.

To learn more about the event, click here.