Browning Powwow

GREAT FALLS- Powwows are a common celebration among the Native American people.

The events featuring the beating of drums and singing of traditional songs plays an important role in Native American culture.

“It’s for people to come together from all over,” explains Belinda Bullshoe, a powwow committee member.

Powwows are a way for anyone and everyone to gather together in a celebration of community.

Today's powwow has attracted thousands of people from across the nation and different tribes.

While many will be watching in amazement, those who are in the dance have something else on their minds.

“It's about being in the circle and having that pride,” says Bullshoe.

Every drum is different; and every song has its own history.

“Then they ask me, well the singing. We've been to a few Indian powwows, we heard the chants and they all sound the same. But they're not the same. You've got to have Indian ears to tell the difference,” explains…

For many, the difference isn't just in the songs.

The art of powwows as a whole is starting to see a dramatic change.

“At the powwows you're seeing it slowly go back. You're hearing the old style jingle, the old style fancy,” explains Bullshoe.

Other aspects of the celebration are changing and it's something the community is divided on.

“Change is inevitable. You know, a lot of our people, and it's respectful, but they're used to the time of the 70s, 80s, 90s. And as younger people advance and want to see change and bring in modern things, and those type of things; they get worried that they're going to be left out or somethings going to happen; and so they, rather than support it, they'll fight it,” explains Jay Dustybull, a Powwow committee member.

In the end, anything you'll ever need to know about Powwow's boils down to one simple school of thought.

"Anything can happen in Powwow. You can see it turn, you know, you can see evolution of singing,” says Bullshoe.

Typically, powwows don't have an end time, lasting hours upon hours.

However, they're changing things up this year and hoping to wrap up around midnight.

One hour after that, a curfew will be put into place.

This is a safety and measure and precaution as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s movement continues to grow.

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