By TRHS Faculty Organizers- Katy Brock-Worman and Michele Fritz
On May 20th, 2021, the Crow Tribe from Montana, and Tongue River High School students and faculty will collaborate to host the Tongue River Valley Pow Wow. Tongue River High School Crow students and faculty are organizing the event in collaboration with Elders from the Crow Tribe. After a year of community isolation, due to Covid-19, and the 2020 death of 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid, members of the Crow Tribe and the Tongue River/ Sheridan community wanted to create an event of cultural fellowship, while bringing awareness to the plight of Indigenous Women and the Native community.
Pow Wows, which are traditionally called Hot Dances, are the Native people’s way of connecting with friends and family, renewing old friendships, and making new ones. The May 20th, Tongue River Valley Pow Wow will be a vibrant scene of dancing, singing, Native culture, and Indian Tacos. The Tongue River/ Sheridan community have donated over 160 pounds of ground beef for the Indian Tacos and the taco toppings.
The Tongue River Valley Pow Wow was originally organized to benefit Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), but interest and support has been so overwhelming that organizers are considering making the Pow Wow an annual event that not only benefits MMIW, but also establishes a college scholarship fund for Native girls who graduate from Tongue River High School.
Tickets to the Pow Wow are $5 and can be purchased through the Tongue River High School front office May 10th-18th. Ticket purchases include an Indian Taco dinner and entry to the Tongue River Football Stadium, for an up-close experience with the Pow Wow’s Grand Entry, Flag Ceremony, Crow Royalty, Native dancers, and Native drummers. Only 400 tickets are being sold and they are expected to sell-out quickly. Those who don’t buy tickets are permitted to attend and watch the Pow Wow from outside the football stadium (donations are appreciated). All guests are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on and a drink (no alcohol on school property). The Pow Wow will be held at Tongue River High School’s football field. Indian Tacos will be served from 5-6 pm, and the Grand Entry to the Pow Wow will begin at 6 pm. All events will end by 9 pm.
Homicide is the third leading cause of death among Native Women ages 10-24 and the fifth leading cause of death for Native Women between the ages 25 and 34. Approximate 75% of Native women are victims of violence. The rate of suicide among Native Women is seven times higher than that of White Women, and the age at which Natives commit suicide is on average fifteen years younger. The Native Woman is looked up to by many in the community and for many reasons. They are the cultural and spiritual leaders and teachers of children in the community. The survival of the Native culture is as dependent on the Native women as it is on any other person or factor.
Those who would like to donate to the cause, but can’t attend, may mail a donation to Tongue River High School (TRHS- Katy Brock-Worman, 1100 Main St., Dayton, WY. 82836). Donations will also be accepted at the Pow Wow. Volunteers are needed for setting up and cleaning up during and after the Pow Wow. If you would like to volunteer please call Tongue River High School (307)-655-2236.
Crow Tribe/TRHS Student Organizers Ivy Yellowtail, Marajah Pease, Samara Kennedy and Azariah Kennedy. (pictured)