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Elmo Powwow celebrates through the summer heat

By Lailani Upham

The crowd winds down but the dancing winds up after midnight. The night did not end until close to 3 a.m. (Lailani Upham photo) The crowd winds down but the dancing winds up after midnight. The night did not end until close to 3 a.m. (Lailani Upham photo)

ELMO — The temperature was nearing 100 degrees last weekend, but it did not hold back the earnest powwow goers at the 34th Annual Standing Arrow Celebration. Folks were found setting up chairs and “bellying up” to the circle and drums around the 180-foot arbor.

The evening 90-degree sun sets a glow on the women fancy dancers as they circle into the arena Saturday evening. (Lailani Upham photo) The evening 90-degree sun sets a glow on the women fancy dancers as they circle into the arena Saturday evening. (Lailani Upham photo)

Hundreds of dancers flowed into the circle this year to compete in hopes of getting their hands in the gigantic pot of cash.

Healing, laughter, relaxation, visiting new and old friends, and aiming to keep energized in spite of the heat was the experience of many who took part in this year’s lakeside powwow.

Ruben Little Head, Cheyenne, and well-known emcee led the crowd in all categories with his quick Indian-humor wit and his heart for the people. “I love working with Indian communities,” Little Head said.

Emcee Ruben Little Head shows off his Lakota style beaded vest. Very proud. (Lailani Upham photo) Emcee Ruben Little Head shows off his Lakota style beaded vest. Very proud. (Lailani Upham photo)

Little Head explained that the circle is a place many come to revive themselves in dance and song. Amongst all the specials from “Outgoing Kootenai Princess” by Clara Charlie and family; to “Canada vs. U.S. Chicken Dance Special” by Bonners Ferry Band of Kootenai; to 5-Man Bass Drum Special” by Jordan Stasso and family; to “Mother Daughter Special” by Clover Anaquod and Shannon Ahhaitty Whiteman; and the “Guy Fox family Chicken Dance Special,” a special moment was set aside on Sunday afternoon for the late Kristopher Goss. Goss was a young Blackfeet champion chicken dancer who was lost in a car accident in July of 2012. He was honored with a song from Dry Lake Singers and many of the prairie chicken dancers danced in memory of Goss. The arena was filled with the spirit of the young talented dancer whose last dance was last seen on the grounds of Elmo.

Little Head explained in an interview that the circle is place of healing, “Someone might be mourning and they came here to laugh and sing and they can rejuvenate here.”

Little powwowers sit back and enjoy intertribal dancing on a smoldering Saturday evening. (Lailani Upham photo) Little powwowers sit back and enjoy intertribal dancing on a smoldering Saturday evening. (Lailani Upham photo)

Jordan Stasso, Standing Arrow head judge, brought in guests from Oneida, Wisconsin to perform a traditional smoke dance each day.

Stasso said he had been trying to get the dancers here for the last two years. In the mid-1990’s his mother Michaelanne worked at Kicking Horse Job Corps and got acquainted with tribal members from Oneida. She was introduced to their traditional dance then. Stasso said he went back there some years ago and met the dancers and wanted them to share their dance on his home Rez and made it happen.

Salish-Pend ‘Oreille elder and Korean War veteran Frances "Plassie" Stanger stands at attention right behind the Warrior Society honor guard during grand entry. (Lailani Upham photo) Salish-Pend ‘Oreille elder and Korean War veteran Frances "Plassie" Stanger stands at attention right behind the Warrior Society honor guard during grand entry. (Lailani Upham photo)

This year was Stasso’s first year as head judge for the drum contest and said he felt it went pretty good. No complaints or stresses reported.

Stasso said the judging is based on: the leads or starts; the pick-ups; the beat; the appropriateness of the song; cleanliness around the drum; and the respect around the drum.

Little Head said the drum plays a vital part in the powwow circles. “It brings everybody together. The sound of the singers makes the dancers dance and when the dancers are jamming, they’re feeling it.”

Little Head said the singers and dancers harmonize the energy at the powwows.

Little Head says he does around 28 powwows a year. He is a generational emcee and grew up around it he said. His grandfather Kenneth Beartusk taught him most of what he knows he says. He also says he owes a lot of his blessings to the Native American Church. “In the peyote meetings — is where I realized life and the power of prayer,” Little Head said.

The new 2013-14 Standing Arrow princess: Miss Kootenai, Alexandrianna Pierre and Lil Miss Kootenai, Shylei Marie Tenas. Pierre stated, “I am very happy and proud to be Miss Kootenai and I am glad I got picked.  I am going to do the best I can to represent and to be a great role model.” Tenas stated her feeling as being crowned this year’s lil princess with a big enthuisiastic, “Great!” (Lailani Upham photo) The new 2013-14 Standing Arrow princess: Miss Kootenai, Alexandrianna Pierre and Lil Miss Kootenai, Shylei Marie Tenas. Pierre stated, “I am very happy and proud to be Miss Kootenai and I am glad I got picked. I am going to do the best I can to represent and to be a great role model.” Tenas stated her feeling as being crowned this year’s lil princess with a big enthuisiastic, “Great!” (Lailani Upham photo)

The 2013-14 Miss Kootenai, Alexandrianna Pierre is the daughter of Louie Pierre Jr. and Nicole Pierre. She is the granddaughter of Rose Pierre, the Late Louie Pierre, Sr., Pat Pierre, the Late Mary Elizabeth Hewankorn Pierre, Dawn Amerio, Edna Hamblin, and Barb and Henry Christie.

“Alex will be 13 years old and entering the seventh grade at Polson Middle School, where she is on the High Honor Roll. Alex has been anxiously waiting to represent the Standing Arrow Powwow and the Kootenai Nation again, since passing on the crown of Lil’ Miss Kootenai in 2011,” stated Colleen Tenas, Standing Arrow Pageant Coordinator. “She was honored to hold the crown for two years,” Tenas added.

Lil Miss Kootenai Shylei Marie Tenas is the daughter of Candace Aldrich and Chris and Cheri Tenas. Proud Grandparents include: Chrissie Ewing, Frank Tenas, Helen Charlo, Lori and Joe Sebestin, Cal Bourdon and Joan Hawkins.

Shannon Ahhaitty Whiteman tears up after a surprise special by her family. Her daughters, Genevieve and Marita Growing Thunder raised money to honor their mother’s victory battle with cancer. Little Head shared her story and said the important word is “had” cancer and Ahhaitty asked for a 49 song of laughter and fun to bring out the celebration by the Traveller’s. (Lailani Upham photo) Shannon Ahhaitty Whiteman tears up after a surprise special by her family. Her daughters, Genevieve and Marita Growing Thunder raised money to honor their mother’s victory battle with cancer. Little Head shared her story and said the important word is “had” cancer and Ahhaitty asked for a 49 song of laughter and fun to bring out the celebration by the Traveller’s. (Lailani Upham photo)

“She will be eight years old and entering the third grade at Linderman Elementary school. She has been learning the Kootenai Language and traditional ways since she was a younger girl, and wants to have fun representing the Standing Arrow Powwow and Kootenai Nation as Lil’ Miss Kootenai,” Tenas said.

“Shylei is a social butterfly, and enjoys fundraising; however becomes very shy when put in front of a microphone,” Tenas added.

Organizers for the 34th annual Standing Arrow Powwow were: Erica Shelby, Ina Andrew, Velma Bahe, Diane David, Jordan Stasso, Alvina Tenas, Louise Andrew, Silas Perez, Pearl Yellowman, Colleen Tenas and Chrissie Ewing.

2013 Standing Arrow Powwow Competition Results

Drum Competition
1st - Dry Lake
2nd - Wild Rose
3rd - Young Grey Horse
4th - Iron Eagle
5th - The Travelers

Women’s Golden Age
1st - Janet George
2nd - Diane Fox
3rd - Nora Red Fox Brown Eagle
4th - Frances Skare

Men’s Golden Age
1st - Mr. Edd Scott
2nd - Ron WindyBoy
3rd - Dave Brown Eagle
4th - Francis George

Sr. Women’s Combined
1st - Sancha Windy Boy
2nd - Daphne Eagle Speaker
3rd - Charlene Tillequots
4th - Nicklo Crossguns

Sr. Men’s Combined
1st - Stan Whiteman Sr.
2nd - Ron KickingWoman Sr.
3rd - John Meninick
4th - Dave T. Madera

Women’s Traditional
1st - Bobbie White
2nd - Juliann Yellowbird
3rd - Misty Blue Mesteth
4th - Paulette Manuel

Men’s Traditional
1st - A.J. McDonald
2nd - Colby White Sr.
3rd - Edwin Little Plume
4th - Cory Williams

Women’s Fancy
1st - Michelle Kipp
2nd - LaVerna Benally
3rd - Sally Anne Jack
4th - Crystal Howell

Men’s Fancy
1st - Walten Runsabove
2nd - J.J. Meninick
3rd - Sean Snyder
4th - Larson Yellowbird

Women’s Jingle
1st - Tawnie Cullooyah
2nd - Gigi Growing Thunder
3rd - Brittney Hunter
4th - Shawnee Rose Skunkcap

Men’s Grass
1st - Colton Tohannie
2nd - Dakota Madera
3rd - Eugene Edwards Jr.
4th - Andrew Windy Boy Jr.

Men’s Chicken
1st - Sheldon Scalplock Jr.
2nd - Jordan Yazzie
3rd - Louie C. Paul Sr.
4th - Rodney Firststrike

Teen Girl’s Traditional
1st - Jusine Scabby Robe
2nd - Jade Ironshirt
3rd - Marita Growing Thunder
4th - Leissa Still Standing

Teen Boy’s Traditional
1st - Ike Carpenter
2nd - Raymond Scott Jr.
3rd - Marcus Wallahee
4th - Weston Mad Plume

Teen Girl’s Fancy
1st - Alauis Yazzie
2nd - Wozek Chandler
3rd - Courtney Perry
4th - Allsa Yazzie

Teen Boy’s Fancy
1st - Dallas Darheim
2nd - Stormee Kipp
3rd - Manny Totus
4th - Dashon Scott

Teen Girl’s Jingle
1st - Hannah Blackcrow
2nd - Stormie Perdash
3rd - Alexandrianna Pierre
4th - Kya-Rae Arthur

Teen Boy’s Grass
1st - Edgar Haskam Jr.
2nd - Jarrell Gopher
3rd - Alec Bluff
4th - Ethan Wallanee

Teen Boys Chicken
1st - Logan Butler
2nd - Ardon McDonald
3rd - Ty-Shay BearMedicine
4th - Richano Guardipee

Jr. Girl’s Traditional
1st - Lynell Shephard
2nd - Kerisa Rides the Grey Horse
3rd - Simisn Heaveyrunner
4th - Zoe Bevis

Jr. Boy’s Traditional
1st - Louis Cullooyah
2nd - Caleb Pierre
3rd - Bryson Wallahee
4th - MyKendall ScabbyRobe

Jr. Girl’s Fancy
1st - Tailee Kickingwoman
2nd - Precious David
3rd - Tre’Lynn Gopher
4th - Alexandra Yellowbird

Jr. Boy’s Fancy
1st - Colby White Jr.
2nd - Daven Madera
3rd - Emmitt White
4th - Andra Lamb

Jr. Girl’s Jingle
1st - Kree Star
2nd - Olivia Whippert
3rd - Abbilee Runsabove
4th - Mikayla Rides the Grey Horse

Jr. Boy’s Grass
1st - Devin Brown Eagle
2nd - Odo-Ishkiin
3rd - Sabine Brown Eagle-Branson
4th - Kyton Burnett

More Standing Arrow Powwow photos can be seen on Facebook on Thursday

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