Skip to content
Wacipi Banner

pow wow 2-1The History of the Wacipi

Wacipi in the Dakota language means dancing, it is the plural form of the word Wa-ci to dance, also know as a pow wow to many. A Tiospaye, which means a band of people, traditionally a group of made up of closely related people, who would come together throughout the year to celebrated for various reason. These gatherings marked seasonal changes such as the one held after long winter and to give thanks to Wakan  Tanka, the creator, for survival. Some gatherings were held after large game kills or seasonal harvests, while some were more spiritual in nature such as the Naming Ceremony or the ceremony held to honor the maturity of young men and women. At these gatherings, the people would invite friends and relatives from other Tiospayes to come celebrate, feast, sing and dance, while rekindling old friendships and forming new ones. 

Modern Wacipipow wow 7

Today, Wacipis are still very much a part of the Native American way of life. Some Wacipis begin as early as March, while most run from June until September and are held every weekend throughout the season. Many families pack up and “go on the circuit,” camping out and enjoying the traditional celebrations. although some traditional Wacipis are still held, the majority are competitive in nature; participants singing and dancing for prize money, while providing spectator entertainment.