Lower Sioux Indian Community
June 9-11, 2023
Annual Powwow Event
During the summer, Dakota communities along the Byway hold an annual Wacipi (pronounced wah-chee-pee) or powwow. These weekend-long events bring family and friends together for a cultural celebration of life and heritage. It is also a time to remember and honor relatives and to commemorate special occasions. In the Dakota language, Wacipi means “they dance” and dancing is at the center of a powwow. Dancers travel from tribal communities across the United States and Canada to participate in exhibitions and contests. A dancer’s regalia can take several years to create and may incorporate significant family pieces and objects that are sacred.
Wacipi Schedule & Events
Each day’s activities begin with the Grand Entry. This vibrant procession is led by flag bearers and eagle staff carriers, many of whom are veterans. Following the flagbearers are honored guests, tribal leaders, and elders. Then dancers of all ages fill the arena’s circle. The host drum group provides the entrance song. The drum holds special cultural significance and is the heartbeat of the Wacipi and the people. The entrance song is followed by a prayer and honor songs for the flag and veterans. Food booths and artists selling crafts, clothing, and jewelry are also part of a powwow gathering. Throughout the Wacipi, Native American cultural heritage is preserved, celebrated, and renewed.
More Wacipi Events
Pezihutazizi Oyate Traditional Wacipi
First weekend in August
Upper Sioux Indian Community
Granite Falls, MN
Mahkato Annual Traditional Wacipi
Third weekend in September
Land of Memories Park
Wacipi Etiquette All are welcome at a Wacipi
Please follow these general guidelines during the event. The Master of Ceremonies will announce the day’s program, when it is appropriate to stand, or when photographs should not be taken.
The arena is sacred ground that has been blessed with prayer and offerings. Treat this area as you would a church. Do not cut across the grassy arena or let children play or run in it. Pets and smoking are also not allowed inside the arena’s dance area.
Some seating or bleachers may be available, but you may bring your own lawn chair. Be mindful of those around you and that some areas may be reserved for elders or people with disabilities. Chairs should not be placed between drum groups and the dance area.
The drum holds special cultural significance. The drum is the heartbeat of the Wacipi and the people. Never touch the drum or drumsticks. Please do not walk between the drum and the chairs of the drum circle.
During the Grand Entry, the flag and veteran songs, and the invocation, spectators are asked to stand and men to remove their hats. Refrain from talking during prayers.
Dancers wear traditional regalia, not costumes. Do not touch someone’s regalia without asking. If you see a piece of regalia fall on the ground, please point it out to the wearer but do not retrieve it yourself.
Some staffs and regalia incorporate eagle feathers which are regarded as a special honor. If an eagle feather should fall on the ground, a ceremony is performed to retrieve it. Photography is not allowed during this ceremony.
Spectators may dance in the arena during “Intertribal” events. Walk in time to the beat of the drums and follow what others are doing. Be considerate of this time and honor it by being respectful.
Photo & Video
Ask permission before taking photographs of individual dancers or before recording drum groups. Professional photography and video require permission ahead of the event.
Make a Donation
Support the Wacipi. Submit your donation information online. Thank you for your support!
For Wacipi questions, please contact:
Joey O'Brien (507) 697-8633
Joyce Pendleton (507)430-6314 (text only)