37th Annual Plains Indian Museum Powwow

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

As promised here is one of my catch up posts from my time here at the Center of the West! The Plains Indian Museum Powwow is an annual event here in Cody that takes place Father’s Day weekend. From what I’ve heard 40 different tribes travel from across the United States to join in the festivities and competition. We went to this several times when I was little but this was the first time I’ve been back in over a decade.

As an intern at the Center, I was also a volunteer for the event so I got to experience firsthand some of the hard work and dedication that makes bringing so many people together possible. The dancers were dressed in so many amazing colors it’s hard to describe and the dances brought us a little bit closer to a time that isn’t so far removed from our own as we sometimes think!

I can still hear the beating of the drums and the songs they sang even two weeks later. The announcer explained that the song was every bit as important as the dance. The dancers must listen carefully to the song so that they make the right steps and stop right when it ends. The singers love to trick the dancers! There are many different kinds of dances too. My favorites are the Fancy Dancers and Jingle-dress Dancers. Here is a link for a description of the different types of dances 🙂 This year the weather wasn’t as good as it could’ve been so the dancers were advised to wear their tennis shoes instead of moccasins. When the grass is wet it stretches them out and ruins them. Still, the dances would go on! Onlookers huddled beneath tents and drank coffee to stay warm then just as it came time for the Grand Entry the clouds broke and the sunshine came out to stay!