The American Indian Cancer Foundation's Wonderful, Crucial Pow Wow for Hope


The American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) is presenting a very special pow wow in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 28th that should prove to be a wonderful, important event. We wanted to get the word out on in advance so as many people as possible will have a chance to participate.

The Powwow for Hope: Dancing for life, love & hope, is an opportunity for people in the Great Plains/Minnesota area to support both cancer survivors and caregivers in the community, and have a great time doing it. The pow wow is a fundraiser for the AICAF, with all money raised during the event going to support cancer education and supportive services for American Indians. Cancer is the leading cause of death for American Indians across the Northern Plains, including Minnesota, according to an AICAF press release.

The Powwow for Hope is asking that people join teams in order to maximize fundraising efforts. Team meetings have already begun in an effort to explain more of the process on how all this works (the next one is on Friday, February 10th, at the Division of Indian Work in Minneapolis). Teams from the Fond du Lack Reservation, White Earth Reservation, Mille Lacs Band, and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin have already committed.

All teams will have be able to have a booth at the pow wow to raise money by selling food, crafts, and or activities (some of the fun ways the AICAF suggests teams raise money at their booths includes face painting, bake sales, bingo, rummage sales or a raffle). Dr. David Perdue, the first American Indian gastroenterologist and AICAF medical director, will be one of the health professionals at the pow wow there to help educate attendees. The event will not only be fun but crucially informative, as many of us don’t actually know what, exactly, causes cancer, how we can cut the risks, what screening options are out there, and how to pay for them.

The Pow Wow for Hope will feature dancers and drum groups, great food, and incredible native art on display. There will be a survivors dance, a caretakers dance, silent auctions, a feast, and a closing ceremony and awards for the top team and individual fundraisers.

Kris Rhodes, AICAF Executive Director, said in a foundation release, “Help is needed to address the cancer burdens faced by many American Indian families. All money raised by Powwow for Hope will be used to support cancer education and supportive services for American Indian families.”

The word is spreading far beyond the Great Plains. Thanks to AICAF volunteer Michael Dahl, the foundation is reaching thousands of people through facebook, including television star Ellen DeGeneres, who they are asking to bring attention to the cause (as well as inviting the notoriously dance-loving DeGeneres to join them and dance). This has made it possible for hundreds of American Indians to share their cancer stories on facebook, providing further motivation to make this event a groundbreaking one.

Now’s the time for anyone out there who wants to get involve to make their voices heard. “This event offers everyone a chance to fight back in a positive, meaningful way,”Rhodes said. If you would like more information about forming or sponsoring a team, contact Julia Littlewolf 612-584-0428 (call/text) or email

Other ways to get involved would be sponsor a pow wow for hope team, attend the pow wow yourself, or donate online at the AICAF's site, here.

And if you want to read the stories from American Indians who have, or are, battling with cancer, check out their facebook page here.