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Standing Arrow Powwow brings visitors to Elmo

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ELMO — The Standing Arrow Powwow returned this year on July 15 to 17, spiking the population of Elmo and filling the air with music, singing and laughter. 

Started 45 years ago in 1977, the Standing Arrow Powwow has been a main attraction of the summer ever since, bringing in visiting royalty from other Tribes and attendees from around the state and beyond. 

Filled with attendees for every event, the weekend kicked off with the first Grand Entry dance contest on Friday evening. $38,000 in prizes was given away to winners throughout the weekend in a variety of dancing categories, including traditional, jingle, chicken, grass, and fancy. A special sponsorship of switch and shawl dancers was offered by the family of Clifford Burke to honor all past and present Chief Cliff Drummers as well. 

Saturday morning began with a 5k Fun Run, as well as open play of Stick Game prior to a tournament later in the day with a $10,000 prize going to the winner. A drum contest for the same prize amount and a co-ed softball tourney were also held.  Mike Kenmille, the new War Dance Chief, was honored with a special Men’s Traditional competition sponsored by his family on Saturday evening. 

A royalty competition was held for Miss Kootenai and Kootenai Warrior, with contestants ages six to 18 vying for the title and the responsibilities that come with it, including public speaking, fundraising and helping at cultural and community activities. 

With the aroma of food wafting through the air, concessions and card rooms throughout the grounds were bustling, full of colorful stalls where both local and visiting artists sold their creations.  

“It’s the best party all year,” one attendee commented. “Everybody gets to come together and celebrate and feel like a kid again. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”

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