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Lakota ledger art selected for pow wow poster

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BISMARCK, N.D. – A work of contemporary ledger art has been selected to represent the 40th Annual United Tribes International Powwow. “We Protect our Families” is a work by artist Tom Haukaas, Rosebud Lakota.

“We Protect our Families” depicts two armed warriors fleeing on horseback after rescuing a third companion. One warrior balances himself on his surging mount to fire his rifle at a threat behind.

Ledger drawing was common among Lakota and other tribes on the Great Plains in the latter part of the 1800s. Drawn on the lined pages of accounting books, the images usually revolved around battle showing individual achievement. The style was revived in the 1980s as an art form used by contemporary American Indian artists, including Haukaas.

United Tribes International

Powwow Head Staff Announcers: Butch Felix, Corky Old Horn and Jim Clairmont

Arena Director: Michael Roberts

Singing Judge: Kenny Pratt Sr.

Head Woman Judge: Stephanie Charging Eagle

Head Man Judge: Lakota Clairmont

Ground Blessing: Marcel Bull Bear

Dr. Haukaas is a scholar and psychiatrist as well as artist; he resides in Florida. His work is included in the collections of the Peabody Essex Museum, the Denver Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. His work has been on display at the Price Dewey Gallery, the Institute of American Indian Art, both in Santa Fe, N.M. and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

“We Protect our Families” was drawn by Haukaas in the late 1980s. The original is in the United Tribes art collection. As designed, the work makes the pow wow poster an unusual horizontal image. The work will adorn wearable and collectible items used to promote the 40th anniversary event.

Known as “Home of the Champions,” the United Tribes International Powwow takes place the weekend after Labor Day, Sept. 10 – 13 on the campus of United Tribes Technical College. It has been held annually since 1969. The event offers $80,000 in prize money for dancers and drum groups, and a vibrant display of American Indian culture for spectators. “Tribes” is the summer’s last, large outdoor pow wow on the northern Great Plains. In recent years it has attracted upwards of 800 dancers, and more than two dozen drum groups.


The pow wow begins with the first Grand Entry at Lone Star Arena, in the center of campus, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. Subsequent Grand Entries are held Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Central Time), and Sunday at 11 a.m. It concludes with awards for champion dancers and drum groups on Sunday evening, Sept. 13, following a free buffalo meal for all dancers, singers and visitors.

All first place winners receive jackets, gold medals and cash. Second through fifth place winners receive medals and cash. The first 25 drums are paid; tiny tot dancers earn day money. A $15 entrance fee guarantees admission to all dance and drum competitions for all four days. Daily admission is $8. Elders (60 and over) and children (5 and under) enter free.

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Miss Indian Nations

Young American Indian women who know their culture are invited to participate in the Miss Indian Nations scholarship pageant. The 17th annual event is set for Sept 9 – 12 during the pow wow. The event is a scholarship program for single, non-parent American Indian women between age 17 and 25 who can demonstrate a command of tribal values, customs and teachings.

Youth Day

School classes and groups are invited to Youth Day at the pow wow. The music and cultural event is a learning opportunity about Native culture. Included are presentations, music, dancing and a performance by the pow wow’s featured cultural group. Youth Day begins at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11 and runs through the morning. School groups are admitted free of charge.

Parade of Champions

The United Tribes Parade of Champions, is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12 through downtown Bismarck. The event features dancers, singers, tribal groups, tribal leaders, Miss Indian Nations participants and groups from the community. Cash prizes are awarded in four categories of judging.

Intertribal Summit

The 13th annual United Tribes Intertribal Council Summit meeting takes place Sept. 9 – 10, prior to the pow wow, at the Bismarck Civic Center. Tribal, federal and state officials discuss current Indian country issues and attend a trade fair.

Sporting Events

Two sporting events associated with the pow wow are a benefit golf tournament Thursday, Sept. 10 at Apple Creek Country Club and a softball tournament Sept. 12 – 13 for women and men’s teams.

For more information about the pow wow and associated events contact Sandy Erickson,, (701) 255-3285, ext. 1293.