BOZEMAN – The 44th annual American Indian Council Powwow continued Saturday at Montana State University, and this year, the theme of the powwow hit home—especially for women.
First, you hear the sound of the drums, then come the singing voices calling in the dancers.
No matter the age or tribe, thoughts begin to fade away with each step.
“I don’t have pain,” said dancer SciNaasha Pete. “Everything that is bothering me or heavy or if there is anything going on it is completely gone. I really come into the circle so that way I can clear my head. I can heal.”
The tradition filling the room made many feel right at home. But the meaning of this year’s powwow was more than just a celebration. The theme was murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, an issue that impacts everyone in the American Indian community.
“We are freshmen in college, and we are worried about our lives,” said MSU student Bree Deputee.
Alisha Fisher, along with some of the other dancers, painted a red hands on their mouths to bring awareness to an issue that has been silenced for too long.
“When is it going to stop? When are we going to, like, feel safe just walking to the store or something, or just jogging down the street?” Fisher said. “I don’t know.”
It’s a problem that doesn’t have a solution yet. But hand in hand as a community, one thing held true on Saturday: these women stood united.
Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News