Youth Day Symposium attracts a record crowd - KOTA Territory News

Youth Day Symposium attracts a record crowd

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The Black Hills Powwow is known for its rich culture, music and dance. Not to mention the colorful traditional dress.

The 26th annual event kicked off the weekend on Friday with a record setting crowd at the Youth Day Symposium.

Music and dance are a rich part of Native American culture.

"Even before I could walk they had me in a traditional dress," said Lynn Cuny.

Cuny says her style of dance is the 'traditional' style of the Lakota women.

"It makes me feel really proud to be able to carry on the traditions of my mother and grandmothers," said Cuny.

It's a tradition she shared with area students at this year's ‘Youth Day Symposium'.

"It's positive when you share things because even though it might not impact them at that moment, later on in life they're going to remember that," Cuny said.

Event organizers say three years ago only seven students attended the ‘Youth Day'; now more than 2800 students from both Rapid City and Douglas area schools filled the Civic Center to learn more about the Native American culture.

"To teach about respecting each other, respecting the different cultures, being open minded and just to learn and enjoy the beautiful part that we have as Lakota culture song and dance," said Stephen Yellowhawk, President of the Black Hills Powwow Association.

Yellowhawk says 'Youth Day' is a chance for all students to build self– esteem and an understanding of different cultures.

"There's a lot of misunderstanding between cultures of course when you first meet so that gives us an opportunity to clear those up and even break some stereotypes," said Yellowhawk.

Cuny says, breaking stereotypes and building bridges of understanding.

"I hope they take away from this that it's not a people they read about in their history books. We are still here today and we celebrate that in all kinds of ways, especially in song and dance," said Cuny.

The 26th annual Black Hills Powwow kicks off at 7 PM Friday night with the 'First Grand Entry'; and both the Powwow and art show run through Sunday.

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