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Black Hills Powwow canceled again over COVID-19 concerns

Black Hills Powwow.jpg
Chad Coppess
SD Tourism

The Black Hills Powwow has been canceled for the second year in a row.

The annual fall event attracts people from all over the world. It's a chance for Native American dancers, singers, and artists to compete for prize money and celebrate their culture.

Stephen Yellowhawk is the president of the board of directors for the powwow. He said it’s a joyous event, and the decision to cancel was difficult.

“We took everything into consideration. And we had a lot of awesome advice, you know, of how we could still do it. But in the end, how do you justify putting on a huge indoor event during a pandemic?” Yellowhawk said.

The 2020 powwow was also canceled due to COVID-19, but as vaccines became available and cases began to drop last spring, Yellowhawk said he was hopeful.

“We decided in, I think, April, that we were going to go forward with this year and we started the big process of the fundraising. And then going in the community and asking for sponsorships," said Yellowhawk. "I'm still sad about it.”

The Powwow was going to be held at The Monument event center in Rapid City.

Lauren McNabb won the title of Miss He Sapa Win at the 2019 Black Hills Powwow. Winners usually hold the title for a year and travel around the country educating people about the powwow, the Black Hills, and Indigenous culture. But McNabb hasn't really been able to do that yet.

“Just because of COVID, I haven't really experienced too much of that side just because the world has been shut down since I won the crown,” she said.

The board of directors asked her to keep the title until 2022.