NAIA Pow Wow

BUTTE-The 45th annual North American Indian Alliance Pow Wow kicked off day two on Saturday, with a day full of fun, dance and culture. The Pow Wow is a family friendly event to expose the community to native culture.

People came from all across Montana to the Mining City to take part in the annual Pow Wow.

"It means a gathering of all nations, a gathering of people," said NAIA Board Chair Danielle Tinsley.

Tinsley has danced at Pow Wow's since she was a child and says she has seen the NAIA Pow Wow grow each year. There are over 1,100 natives in the Butte-Silver Bow community and Tinsley says the annual Pow Wow is an important tradition for Butte.

"I think it's really important to be able to identify your heritage and know what your history is and to try and learn to be a part of it," said Tinsley.

Executive Director of the NAIA Dan Gardipee says Pow Wow's started hundreds of years ago as a way to tell stories of hunting and battles. Now, they're a way of gathering with friends, family and the community to appreciate native culture.

Gardipee says they enjoy showing the traditions of the tribes to the community.

The two day Pow Wow kicked off Friday night with a Grand Entry and Saturday morning the NAIA hosted a suicide walk to help raise awareness to suicide in the native community. Gardipee says suicide has greatly impacted his family and many other families in the native community.

"It's a very important topic in our community, a lot of times, we have noticed sometimes it's not the traditional suicide there's not a call for help and what we're noticing is sometimes it just seems to happen unexpectedly," said Gardipee.

The NAIA Pow Wow is always free and open to the public says Gardipee. This year organizers hired special guest and well known artist Supaman to speak at the event.

Organizers say events will be going on at the Civic Center until late Saturday night with raffles, competitions and lots of dancing.

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