Derek Joseph

MISSOULA (KPAX) - The 55th annual Kyiyo Pow Wow brought thousands of people from tribes in Montana and across the country to Missoula to celebrate Native American Culture.

This powwow is organized by students at the University of Montana with one of the organizers noting the powwow is one of the biggest celebrations their group has ever put on.

Michael King says it means more people got to learn and experience the beauty of the celebration firsthand, “It’s a celebration, everyone comes together. We all have a good time for a couple of days."

“But it also gets to showcase to people who are either learning about their culture whether they just found out, or they’ve never been a part of it their whole life and they want to learn," King continued. "This is a good entry start.”

Some of the main draws of pow wows are the dancing, singing, and drumming competitions for people of all ages.

Trish Heavyrunner, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho has been dancing at the Kyiyo Pow Wow for most of her life. But she says that the competition is not what keeps her coming back.

“I think the song and the drum are healing especially coming out of the winter when it was really tough,” Heavyrunner said. Going to these brings you together with family and friends and then you get to hear the drum and it’s healing so when you go home, back to work you’re already uplifted and you feel better.”

There will be another Pow Wow in Arlee around the end of June.