The Dancers of the Plains cultural exhibition takes place June 15-16 at the Great Platte River Road Archway, where the Ponca tribes of Nebraska and Oklahoma will celebrate their culture. Over that same weekend, starting on Sunday, June 17, the Mid-Year Conference of the National Congress of American Indians takes place, also at the Archway, a serendipitous bit of scheduling bringing thousands of honored guests to Kearney, Nebraska.
“We’re really excited that one of the projects I feel passionate about, Dancers of the Plains, is going to overlap with the NCAI conference,” Carol Rempp, coordinator of multicultural and Native American education with the Nebraska Department of Education, told the KearneyHub.com. “Representatives from many tribes outside Nebraska will see that it is possible to have an event that is very respectful in how it handles tribal traditions.”
The Great Platte River Road Archway is a history museum that uses a variety of effects, from film, life-sized dioramas and re-enactors to computers, graphics, light and sound to tell the story of the "over 150 years of transportation and communication across America."
Remp helps plan Dancers of the Plains, a pow wow that, instead of featuring competitive dancing, focuses on culture, lore and tradition. This is the fourth annual event, which honors the Southern Ponca of Oklahoma and Northern Ponca of Nebraska. Friday, June 15, is "Education Day." It's an opportunity to learn about the two tribes through activities such as flag raising and Tipi raising, dance demonstrations and various educational activities. Saturday, June 16 is "Exhibition Day."
While the Dancers of the Plains event is a two-day celebration, and education, on Ponca culture, the KearneyHub.com notes that the Archway is planning a "summer-long focus on growing corn varieties and other foods that sustained Plains tribes."
For more information on Dancers of the Plains, contact the Archway at 877-511-2724, or visit their site here.