BHSU to host speakers and Wacipi (Pow Wow) during American Indian Awareness Week

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, March 29, 2018/Categories: Events, Students, Academic Affairs, College of Business and Natural Sciences, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Community, Events, 2018

Native youth will share their stories of leadership during American Indian Awareness Week events at Black Hills State University April 9-13. Speakers will be on campus to present in American Indian Studies classes throughout the week. The 35th annual Lakota Omniciye Wacipi (Pow Wow) will take place April 13-14. All events are open to the public.

The theme for the week is “Indigenous Leaders of Today Inspiring a Legacy.” American Indian Awareness Week at BHSU is hosted by the Lakota Omniciye student organization as an event dedicated to educating the community about Indian culture.

K’Dyn Newbrough, applied health sciences major from Eagle Butte and co-president of Lakota Omniciye, encourages the public to come to campus to hear the speakers which include successful youth in Native Country. Community members are encouraged to listen to the speakers during the classroom presentations and attend the Wacipi.

“When people come to support the youth, both native and non-native, it not only gives the youth confidence in their own work but gives the public a reflection on how the future is going to look,” said Newbrough. “Being able to share our cultural values and practices at the Pow Wow is always rewarding.”

Monday, April 9
  • Jessie Rencountre: “Pet’a Shows Misun the Light,” 9 a.m. - 9:50 a.m., Jonas Hall Room 107
Jessie Taken Alive-Rencountre lives in Rapid City with her husband and four daughters. Jessie worked for eight years as a school counselor and was influenced to write her first children’s book after hearing many of the hurtful situations elementary children would share with her. This story is for all ages and teaches compassion and forgiveness. It reminds us of the ability that we all have to change the world. Jessie’s story won the 2017 Great Plains Emerging Tribal Writer’s Award. She will be sharing her story and the process of how the story came to her.
  • Cheyenne Brady: “Obesity & Diabetes in American Indian Communities,” 2 p.m. - 3 p.m., Jonas Hall Room 107
Cheyenne Brady is from New Town, N.D., located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. She is a member of the Sac and Fox/Cheyenne/and Tonkawa Tribes. In May of 2015, she graduated with her bachelors of science in psychology from North Dakota State University. She has a master’s of public health in American Indian public health from NDSU as well. In 2015-16 she was crowned Miss Indian World at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow. She will be speaking about health disparities that affect American Indian communities.

Tuesday, April 10
  • Sara Pierce: “Indian Education: Past, Present and Future,” 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Jonas Hall Room 306
Sara Pierce is the Title IV Indian Education Manager for the Rapid City area schools. She is a passionate advocate for Native American education and student success. She believes that the best investment we can make for the prosperity of our nations lies in positive youth development.

Wednesday, April 11
  • Micheal Two Bulls, “Art Work and Community Organization,” 9 a.m. – 9:50 a.m., Jonas Hall Room 107
Micheal Two Bulls (Oglala Sioux Tribe) is a professional artist living and creating art on Red Shirt Table in the Pine Ridge Reservation. A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Art, he specializes in mixed-media works that often build on his passion for printmaking. He also is a founding member of The Wake Singers, a band that prefers to compose and write in studio recording sessions and rarely plays live.
  • Ms. Samaya Blacksmith, “Lakota Culture in Main Stream American Society,” 1 p.m. – 1:50 p.m., Jonas Hall Room 308
Samaya Blacksmith, an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe, is a recent graduate from Red Cloud High School. She is currently attending Black Hills State University as a freshman. Recently, she had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland to talk about Lakota in Mainstream Society. During her presentation, Samaya will be discussing different misrepresentations of Native Americans, the culture today, along with her own personal story of growing up half Native American and half Caucasian.

Thursday, April 12
  • Vaughn Vargas, “Engineering Projects in Community Service,” 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Jonas Hall Room 306
Vaughn Vargas, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, knows that an effective police force needs to reflect the racial makeup of the community it is sworn to protect. He is coordinator of the first-ever cultural advisory committee in South Dakota for Rapid City law enforcement agency, an appointment he took on while completing his engineering degree. He wants to help diversity law enforcement agencies through focusing on organizational behavior and culture. He is also a 2017 Bush Fellow.
  • Autumn White Eyes, “My Journey Home: Lakota Youth, Art, and Community,” 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., Jonas Hall Room 308
Autumn White Eyes, the Executive Director of Lakota Children’s Enrichment program, is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation and grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She received her B.A. in creative writing and Native American studies at Dartmouth College and is a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she studied arts in education. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, Autumn worked with multiple nonprofits in both programming with youth and fundraising.

Friday, April 13
  • He Sapa Laser Solutions, 9 a.m. – 9:50 a.m., Jonas Hall Room 107
He Sapa Laser Solutions is an Indian-owned and operated laser engraving business established in 2015. It is owned and operated by Zane and Steve Swan, enrolled members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. They provide high quality products while promoting artwork form local and nationally-known Native artists.
  • Grand Entry, Lakota Omniciye Wacipi Pow Wow, 7 p.m., Donald E. Young Center Field House
Saturday, April 14
  • Grand Entry, Lakota Omniciye Wacipi Pow Wow, 1 p.m., Donald E. Young Center Field House
The entry fee for the Pow Wow is $6 per session or $10 for a weekend pass. Those 55 years and older, under age 5, BHSU students, and BHSU faculty and staff receive free admission with their University ID.

View the complete schedule online at


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