The rhythm of the drums and the spirit of the music connects Native American tribes and their culture together.
“You just hear the heartbeat of the drums and it drives you and makes you want to just dance,” said Cynthia Gonzalez of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
The drum’s heartbeat has driven Cynthia Gonzalez of pine ridge to dance in pow wows for 17 years. But what attracts her to the Black Hills Pow Wow year-after-year is not just the music; it’s the sense of unity.
“I love pow wow dancing and I love when everybody comes together like this,” said the traditional dancer. “To me it doesn’t matter what race or color you are everybody is invited to come to the pow wow and have fun.”
“I like to encourage non–native people to come express your feelings, take in this good feeling that is happening here,” said Bear Creek singer Joe Syrette fromCanada.
Others like Syrette came from all over to take in that good feeling.
“A lot of times the non–native people think it’s a ceremony. In a way it is because we are all giving thanks,” Syrette said.
“It’s something we always do, dancing and singing, keeping the culture alive,” said Oglala Sioux Tribe member Sheldon Two Crow.
Even if you can’t dance, can’t sing and are of a different culture, the moment you walk in the door you become part of the family.
More than 450 dancers participated in Sunday’s pow wow. A dance and singing contest also took place.