June 26, 2014

Powwow in transition

New powwow grounds, new name

By Jerry W. Kram

2014 marks the end of Nuxbaaga Powwow.

Don’t worry, the annual celebration will still be held on the third weekend of June in 2015. But it will have a new – but old – name. And that isn’t the only change as this year’s powwow was the first to be held in the new arbor.

Tillie Little Soldier is the President of the 2014 Nuxbaaga Powwow Committee. She is handing over the reins to Karen Rabbithead, who is the President of the 2015 Santee/Lucky Mound Powwow. Rabbithead said Santee/Lucky Mound was the community of most of the people who moved to Parshall in the 1950s after their towns were flooded by the Garrison Dam. The community held its powwows in Parshall for many years, and in the 1960s it was renamed Nuxbaaga, which means people in Hidatsa.

"Our ancestors were born and raised in Lucky Mound, including my family John Rabbithead, who homesteaded there," Rabbithead said. "When the Garrison Dam came we ended up moving to Parshall. That’s where we’ve been all of our lives."

The powwow grounds in Parshall didn’t have enough parking to handle the growing powwow, so some land was purchased about six miles south of Parshall and an arbor and dancing ground was built there. Rabbithead the elders who remember the original powwow grounds in Lucky Mound have been asking for a return to the old name for many years now.

"It has been the wish of our elders to return to the Lucky Mound name," Rabbithead said. "We can’t return to our homes there because it is flooded out, but we can carry on the name. That’s what we wanted to go back to and honor. A lot of elders have passed away who waited for that to happen."

The 2014 Nuxbaaga Powwow has been transformed by installation of a new arbor and dancing grounds. While there is still a lot of work to do, the new facility was ready for dancers, drummer and vendors at this year’s powwow, Little Soldier said.


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