Elevating Indigenous Youth

The Pow Wow committee identified the necessity to highlight Indigenous youth as their communities address challenges around the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and those impacted by Indigenous boarding schools. As they navigate their past, present, and future, it is imperative to elevate Indigenous youth as they face and overcome new obstacles.

Original artwork was created by Kassie John (Diné). Her illustration showcases the intergenerational traditions within the Pow Wow Circle where an elder is having a young dancer smudging their family. For many Native American communities, the act of “smudging” is a way to bring harmony and bless others through its smoke. The Indigenous youth leading ceremonies reflects the importance our children carry within our culture and traditions.


Grounded by Indigenous Love, Resilience in Kinship

Our Native and Indigenous communities fill us with inspiration. From hospitality to solidarity, the Native and Indigenous Peoples lead by example. For its 50th anniversary, the Pow Wow Committee wished to highlight the communities’ endearing and resilient characteristics when navigating the world today by aligning with the theme “Grounded by Indigenous Love, Resilience in Kinship.


Indigenous Rising: Warriors in Leadership

For Native American women, the election of Davids and Haaland reclaims their ancestral right to leadership in a society that has undermined the power of Indigenous women. The Inter-Tribal Student Association chose to honor these women with “Indigenous Rising: Warriors in Leadership” as a way to highlight the return of women to their place of leadership.


In Honor of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women

Historically for many tribes, women are the heart and backbone of their communities. From colonization to the present, there have been disproportionally higher rates of violence and assault towards indigenous women. Though there is little official collection of data, many families recount stories of missing family members. The 2018 theme focused on creating awareness around the widespread problem facing women in indigenous communities.


Be Legendary, Honoring Our Unity: A Tribute to the Northern Ute Tribe

Despite the low number of American Indian students at the U, the opportunity to receive an education creates the responsibility to legendary and give back to their community. Though this year’s Powwow was dedicated to the Northern Ute Tribe, ITSA also wanted to highlight the unity that Native American tribes have demonstrated during recent events, such as the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.


Sustaining Our Culture

The term “powwow” originates from a Narragansett word, pau wau. It became an instrumental platform for passing down knowledge such as language, song, dance and medicine. Today, the powwow at the U is an opportunity for tribal members throughout the Intermountain West and others to meet to honor the cultural and religious practices of the American Indian community.This year’s northern host drum was White Bull and the southern host drum was performed by Southern Style.


Sustaining Our Culture

The Sustaining our Culture Powwow is a time for American Indian/Alaskan Native students, faculty, and staff to come together and promote appropriate representation of their culture on campus. Additionally, the Powwow provides an opportunity for the Inter-Tribal Student Association to engage and connect with the larger American Indian/Alaskan Native community in the Wasatch Front. This year’s northern host drum was North Bear, a celebrated drum group from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Grayhawk, a local Utah group performed the southern host drum.