HARDIN — Students, staff, and faculty from eight schools within the Hardin Public School District celebrated the start of the academic year with a powwow honoring the community.
Hosted at Imer Field at Hardin High School, over a thousand attended the community powwow organized by Bianka Rock Above, the district’s Indian Education director.
“We are here today to celebrate our community, honor our community. Bringing everyone together, all the schools together, students and just welcome our new school year on a positive note,” Rock Above said on Wednesday.
For some like 18-year-old Amadou Jallow, it was a new experience.
“It’s my first time here and I actually like how they went all out to support their people,” said the Hardin High School senior.
All out is a good way to put it as three different drum groups, Night Hawk Jrz, Sound Dogs, and Ghost Bull & Black Lodge Wranglers, provided music to dozens of dancers.
For 17-year-old Julian Blacksmith, who actually placed first in his dance category at Crow Fair, it was a chance to show non-Natives the art.
“It’s pretty cool to show them that we can dance. Our new outfits, our feathers, our roaches, and our sticks. Sometimes they try to dance with us but they kind of have a hard time, but it’s okay,” Blacksmith said.
Native students also enjoyed the unique immersion of Crow culture.
“It’s just nice that it’s still here and we’re still continuing it. And hopefully, we’re still continuing it,” said Hardin high school sophomore, Anndre’a Espinoza.
Eighteen-year-old Hardin High School senior Miles Wells appreciates the culture despite being nonnative.
“Even if you aren’t Native, like, you can still be a part of it, it’s still fun. And everyone likes to go out there, push dance, do a line dance. And the singing is really cool. A lot of people aren’t used to that, and so a lot of people think that’s cool,” said Wells.
It's a cool experience and a hands-on lesson in culture that no student here will forget.
“I feel like not a lot of people know about it. More people should though,” said Hardin high school sophomore Sarah Olkelk.