Powwow benefits St. Labre Indian School

As dancers from all different tribes form a circle around the gym, the audience is invited to learn how to do traditional Native American dances.

The Powwow featured a variety of Native American cultures on Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Many dancers from all different tribes performed both traditional and contemporary Powwow dances. When the attendees were not on the dance floor or enjoying the upbeat music, they were shopping for items specific to the Native American culture at the different vendors set up throughout the halls. The Powwow served as a cultural celebration for Native Americans as well as an educational experience for the others who joined.

Vendors were selling different pieces seen most commonly in Native American culture. The uniquely beautiful turquoise, silver, and copper jewelry was everywhere for attendees to look at and purchase along with other traditional Native American artwork.

The Powwow served as a fundraiser for St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Mont. The school offers a free high-level education to those in need. Several students who graduated from St. Labre now attend colleges all over the country, some of which were close enough to JC that they could come and celebrate through dance.

St. Labre’s Director Of Alumni Support, David Charpentear, was able to come to the Powwow and honor some of the graduated students. Charpentear helps students receive scholarship money. “Over 90% of our graduating seniors went onto college and we have over $400,000 in scholarship money,” Charpentear said.

Alison Bearcho, who graduated from St. Labre in 2015, now attends Mount Saint Mary’s University and was able to attend the Powwow and be a part of the grand opening. “St. Labre helped with my scholarship it pays for almost everything. So I was really lucky and blessed to go to school all the way out here [Maryland],” Baercho said.

Vice Principal of Academics Gary Scholl has been preparing for months and was glad to be a part of such a successful Powwow. “It was another event just filled with good spirit and successful in raising funds for a good cause,” Scholl said.

Students from Scholl’s Anthropology class spent hours setting up and preparing to welcome all of the guests to the Powwow the day before. The students also spent the whole day at the Powwoww meeting guests, dancing, and helping to raise money for St. Labre.

Senior Kyle Baldauf is in Scholl’s anthropology class and was able to take part in the festivities of the Powwow when we he was pulled into the dance circle do learn a couples dance. “It looked simple but it was actually really hard,” Baldauf said.

Focusing mainly on the Northern Cheyenne tribe in Scholl’s class, the students were able to gain first-hand knowledge at the Powwow as they met several members of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. “He’s [Scholl] taught us a lot about Cheyenne culture so he gave us a good foundation to learn off of,” Baldauf said.

The Annual Morning Star Powwow was successful in raising over $4,400 that St. Labre will be able to use in many different ways to improve their school. “We’re really grateful and humble that a school this size in Maryland can put this much work into an event like this and then donate the money to us,” Charpentear said.

Anna Sullivan is an Entertainment Editor and Allie Taylor is a Perspective Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com