An estimated 5,000 American Indians from a dozen Midwestern states, both coasts, and Canada will gather for two days of dancing, singing and socializing at the 12th annual powwow at the University of St. Thomas Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6 and 7. The event is being held about a month earlier than in past years.

People of all races and cultures are welcome to join the festivities.

The powwow, which will be held in the university’s Coughlan Field House, will be divided into three sessions, each beginning with a grand entry. The first session runs from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the second runs from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and the third runs from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $6 each day of the powwow, or $10 for the weekend. Those under 8 and over 60 are admitted free.

An estimated 275 to 350 dancers are expected to compete for $20,000 in prize money. About 20 drum groups, each with six to eight singers, will compete for another $6,000. New this year will be a hand-drum contest offering $1,500 in prize money.

Explanations of the dances will be given throughout the powwow. Dancers will compete in a variety of categories, and there will be a special exhibition division for youngsters 8 and younger.

Participants from all tribes, nations and colors (that means everyone) will be welcome to join the intertribal dances, which do not require traditional dress or previous experience.

Arena director for the powwow will be Ron Goodeagle of Flandreau, S.D. The Eyabay drum group of the Twin Cities, winner of the 1998 competition, will be this year’s host drum group.

American Indian art and craft items will be on sale at about 30 booths in the field house. Foods, including traditional fare such as fry bread, wild rice casserole and corn soup, will be available next door in the second-floor student dining room of Murray-Herrick Campus Center.

The powwow is sponsored by St. Thomas. For more information, call Dr. Robert Qualls, associate dean of the university’s School of Continuing Studies and a member of the powwow committee, at (651) 962-5957. Information about the powwow also is available on the World Wide Web at

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