The 28th annual Woodlands and High Plains Powwow (WHPP) will be held April 1, 2017, in Nemzek Fieldhouse on the Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) campus. This year’s theme is “Mni Wiconi (Water is Life): Standing Together.” The WHPP is sponsored by MSUM, Concordia College, Minnesota State Community and Technical College Moorhead (M State), and North Dakota State University (NDSU).

A traditional powwow is a time to celebrate and renew friendships. In addition, this powwow celebrates the educational experiences of American Indian students in higher education and the sharing of tribal cultures in the FM area. 

The powwow will feature many styles of dance and drum songs from the area tribes. The community will also enjoy the overall cultural experience, including the many vendors that will display and sell their wares and perhaps enjoy a delicious Indian taco.

Grand Entry will begin at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and a meal will be served during the 5 p.m. break. The doors will open to the public at 12:30 p.m. This year’s head female dancer will be Winona Goodthunder, member of the Lower Sioux Community; she is pursuing a degree in Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Our head male dancer is Jacob Walker-Swaney, member of the Potawatomi/Shawnee from Kalamazoo, MI; he is pursuing a degree in Masters of Public Health and Ph.D. in Conservation Biology at NDSU.

The emcee is Ricky White, member of Whitefish Bay First Nation in Ontario, Canada, and the Arena Director is Tom Mason, member of Rainy River First Nations Band of Ojibwe in Ontario, Canada. The Spiritual Advisor is Laidman “JR” Fox, Spirit Lake Nation and the host drum Eyabay of Red Lake, Minnesota. The Honor Guard is from the White Earth Nation in Minnesota.

This year the MSUM American Indian Student Association (AISA) will host the 3rd Annual Hand Games Intertribal Style Tournament. The hand game is a Native American guessing game played by two teams with sticks and bones. Using hand signals, each team will take turns either “hiding” the bones or “guessing” who may be holding the bones.

Admission for the event will be children five and under, free; youth ages 6 to 18, $3; adults 19 to 54, $5; and adults 55 and over, $3. Quad-College Students (from Concordia College, M State, MSUM and NDSU) are admitted free with a valid student ID.

Day money will be paid for all registered dancers who remain in regalia until payout. Registration for dancers and drums (first ten registered drums only) is from 10:45 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. No admission charge for dancers in regalia and registered drummers.

For more information visit the Facebook page at

For questions, contact Jody Steile, (218) 477-4272, or Heather Keeler-Johnson,