Black Hills State University Center for American Indian Studies to Host 38th Annual Wacipi

The Black Hills State University Center for American Indian Studies will host the 38th annual Lakota Omniciye Wacipi during American Indian Awareness Week, Saturday, April 15 at 12 p.m. in the Donald E. Young Center.  

This annual event celebrates the rich cultural heritage of South Dakota and will feature Indigenous dancers, singers, and drummers from all over the state, including students from BHSU. “The Wacipi is a time for our people to come together. It’s a time of socializing, meeting relatives you haven't seen in a long time, dancing, and just having fun,” said Dr. Rosie Sprauge, an instructor at the Center for American Indian Studies. 

Attendees can also shop with unique vendors who attend the Wacipi from across the state. “This is the biggest cultural event in Spearfish. The Wacipi is a huge economic boost to the community. People come in to shop, eat, and stay in hotels,” explained Dr. Urla Marcus, director of the Center for American Indian Studies. 

This year's Wacipi theme is the influence of past and present Indigenous leaders. It will focus on leadership with past alumni and upcoming graduates. “This is a time for our students to showcase what they have done all year. They are the ones that put this on every year with fundraising, Indian taco sales--they are the ones that set everything up and take everything down,” Sprague said. 

Wacipi admission is $8 for the general public and free for BHSU faculty, staff, and students. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to enjoy the Wacipi and learn more about Native American culture. “We encourage everyone to come and participate,” Marcus said.  

American Indian Awareness Week will also feature several speakers from April 11 – 14 in Room 107 of Jonas Hall on the BHSU campus. Speakers include Gene Swallow, Valeriah Big Eagle, Courtney Fischer, Mato Wayuhi, Whitney Rencountre, D’Aryn Lends His Horse, and Peshawn Bread. All speaking sessions are free and open to the public. 

For more information on American Indian Awareness Week or the Wacipi, please visit