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.

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