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Powwow dance competition brings thousands of dancers to Crow Fair

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Posted at 10:38 PM, Aug 20, 2023

CROW AGENCY — Powwow dancers have been strutting their stuff for the past three days at Crow Agency, hoping to be named the best out of their dance category. One of those dancers is 23-year-old Aletha Morsette, who traveled all the way from North Dakota to compete.

The art form of powwow dancing is contemporary when it comes to the history of the Crow Fair.

“Our tribe, the Crow, they wanted to keep their identity. They were resilient so they wanted to hold on to whatever that could and at the same time, enjoy it,” said one of the fair’s coordinators, Dy Anna Three Irons on Sunday.

It’s since developed into a three-day competition, drawing dancers from all over the country.

“I just enjoy it. I dance for people who can’t dance, I dance for my family. I dance for my mother,” Morsette said.

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Morsette may be from out of state, but she’s a familiar face at Crow Fair.

“Aletha is a Jingle Dress dancer. She’s very well-known and does well with the competition,” Three Irons said.

The eight-year dancer took home first place in her age group and category back in 2019. This year’s competition is even more significant as she’s dancing for her uncle.

“He was recently diagnosed with cancer so I believe dancing will bring him strength,” said Morsette.

It’s an art form that takes practice as Morsette dances nearly every day to perfect her form.

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“When I’m out there, I feel good. It makes me forget about everything for a while,” Morsette said.

“It’s kind of like art. It’s art and how each dancer moves, how they move to the beat of the drum and their footwork,” said Three Irons.

Morsette hopes her movements during the three days of competition earn her enough points to be named the winner in her age group, but that’s not her priority.

“It makes me feel good to know that I can make somebody else feel good just through my movement,” Morsette said.