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46th Annual USD Wacipi Highlights Native American Events on Campus

PHoto of Wacipi. The 46th annual USD Wacipi will be hosted in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center April 7-8.

VERMILLION, SD – The Tiospaye Student Council will host the 46th annual University of South Dakota Wacipi in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center April 7-8.

The Wacipi, or powwow, features Native dancers and drummers as well as category competitions. The grand entry will be hosted at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 7 and at 1 p.m. April 8. The 2018 theme is “Tuktekte Mayani Heci Nisnala Mayani Sni,” or “Where ever you walk, you are not alone.”

“This year's theme reflects the importance of support to our Indigenous students while they are in college,” said Jessi Bean, the Tiospaye Student Council President. “It also acknowledges those who came before us and the connection that we have with all our relations.”

The Lakota Women Warriors, a group of Native women veterans from South Dakota tribes, will serve as Color Guard. International students have also been invited to march in the grand entry on Saturday afternoon wearing traditional clothing and holding flags representing their nations.

“In conjunction with our theme, our t-shirt color is teal. We are doing this to raise awareness for, and to honor all missing and murdered indigenous women and those who have been impacted by sexual assault,” said Bean, a social work and Native studies major.

The Wacipi is hosted in coordination with the 21st annual Building Bridges Conference on April 6 which seeks to provide opportunities for students and faculty to learn effective ways to make higher education a positive experience for all students. This year's conference will focus on suicide prevention and will include hip-hop artist and activist Nataanii Means. The event is sponsored by the Clinical Psychology program.

Nataanii Means is Oglala Lakota, Omaha and Dine. He was born and raised in Chinle, Arizona in the Navajo Nation. He appeared on MTV's widely popular Rebel Music, and is part of a growing movement of Native hip-hop artists who use their voice and music to help bring awareness to the issue of indigenous youth suicide.

Additionally, on April 6, the 8th annual Native American Alumni Banquet will be held in the Muenster University Center ballroom with a silent auction beginning at 5 p.m. The event celebrates Native students, both past and present, honoring those who have had a positive impact on the USD community. The keynote speaker is USD President James W. Abbott.

The event will feature a traditional meal from Brian Yazzie, chef de cuisine at the Sioux Chef in the Twin Cities. For additional information or to register, please visit the registration page.

Additionally, the Admissions Department will host Native American Visit Weekend connecting interested high school students with the events on campus.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News