The 45th Annual St. Joseph’s Indian School Wačhípi will take place on Saturday, September 18. The school has offered this cultural experience since the mid-1970s, though school records indicate students have performed traditional dance there since the 1950s.
Like this past year, the powwow will take place on campus but not be open to the public. Due to COVID-19 safety regulations, the event can only be viewed by live stream for the school’s families and donors.
The students have been practicing since school started and are excited to have the opportunity to perform in full regalia. Although things are different this year, the spirit of dance and celebration will be in full swing, with more than 78% of the school’s student population participating.
A retooled royalty competition set the event in motion on Wednesday, September 8. The evening opened with prayer. Next, the Chalk Hills Singers, the school’s drum group, played the Lakota Flag Song. Seventeen young women competed for Jr. Miss St. Joe’s and two for Miss St. Joe’s. Six young men vied for Eagle Staff Bearer. Contestants submitted written interview questions, introduced themselves in Lakota, demonstrated dance and answered questions from the judges.
Fourth-through-eighth-grade students attended the event, cheering on their favorites. Students not participating in the competition viewed a live stream from their campus homes with their house parents.
This year’s royalty are Marybella Archambeau, Jr. Miss St. Joe’s; Kaylee Summers, Miss St. Joe’s; and Jevjuan Dion, Eagle Staff Bearer.