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Bridging Two Worlds

Mar. 25, 2009 – “Providing others with insight into American Indian culture while reminding American Indians of the beauty and importance of their heritage,” says James Ruben (

Diné), a University of Utah student and member of the Inter-Tribal Student Association, “is one of the opportunities that a traditional powwow provides for the community.”

With that in mind, “Bridging Two Worlds” is the theme of the University of Utah Inter-Tribal Student Association’s 37th annual powwow to be held Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 11:00 am at the University of Utah, College of Health, HPER Building East Gymnasium, 250 South 1850 East, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“A powwow provides an excellent opportunity for communities to come together and join in dance and song,” according to Lena Judee (Navajo), director of the university’s American Indian Resource Center. “There is nothing like experiencing the grand entry when dancers, in full regalia, enter the dance circle dancing in sync to the drum. I always feel so grateful for my heritage and feel connected with my people when I experience a grand entry.” The powwow will begin with the arena blessing followed by a grass dance blessing and grand entry.

“The University is pleased, once again, to sponsor the Inter-Tribal Student Association powwow,” says Octavio Villalpando, associate vice president, Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Utah. “This is a long and proud tradition here at the university. It is a wonderful way for the U to support American Indian students and community, honor their contributions and help others learn about their history and culture.”

Throughout the history of university sponsored powwows, both contest and traditional powwows have been presented. This year, after careful consideration, the powwow committee consisting of university students, staff and faculty decided to hold a traditional “social” powwow. The community is welcome to attend and celebrate the Native American tradition of song and dance. Admission is free, however donations are greatly appreciated.

The powwow is being advised by American Indian elders. “When dealing with different tribes and nations,” says Judee, “one has to be respectful and teachable, especially when you are involving elders in your activities. In this fashion, the organizers are able to learn more about traditional powwows.” The powwow head staff consists of Bob Taylor, Sr. (Northern Ute) as the spiritual advisor; Winston Mason (Hidatsa/Mandan) as the master of ceremonies; Mike Walker (Omaha) as the arena director; James Tone (Shoshone/Bannock) as the head man dancer; Roberta WindChief (Assiniboine) as the head woman dancer; William RedCliff Crank (

Diné;/Comanche) as the head boy dancer; and McKell Old Bull (Crow/Goshute) as the head girl dancer.

More information about the powwow may be obtained by contacting the University of Utah American Indian Resource Center at, or by calling 801-581-7392.