The Oglala Nation Powwow is one of the biggest events of the summer.

This year the powwow began Aug. 1 and ends today, Aug. 4., in Pine Ridge. Drumming, dancing and singing entertain crowds of people who come to watch, meet people, eat, and celebrate the Lakota culture.

The beautiful jingle dresses and fancy dance clothing also make an impression on those attending the performances. The Rapid City Public Libraries have resources to help you learn more about the powwow tradition and Native American history, handiwork and culture.

One of the fastest ways to locate materials is by searching for powwow in the libraries’ catalog. We have made it even easier for you by creating a web link to take you directly to our favorite resources on the topic.

On the bottom of the catalog’s search results page, you will find a link called Powwow Books & DVD’s and also Powwow magazine articles. Clicking on the Powwow Books and DVD’s will bring up listings of resources on powwows, Native American handiwork, and Native American foods, including the bison.

One of the delightful children’s stories is "Jingle Dancer" by Cynthia Leitich Smith. It is the tale of a young dancer who doesn’t have enough jingles for her own dress but borrows some from family and dances in their honor.

A relevant book in the adult section is titled, “Heartbeat of the People: Music And Dance of the Northern Powwow,” by Tara Browner. Browner takes the reader on an insider’s journey through the dances and music, the traditions and regalia of the powwow, and also interviews two different powwow families, one Lakota and one Anishnaabeg.

We also recommend using American History Online to find articles from books, primary accounts, and biographies having to do with Native American history and culture of North America.

To access this database, go to the Libraries’ homepage,, and choose Research/Database from the left-hand menu. From the list of topics, choose History, Biography and Genealogy and then American History Online.

The articles on powwow s are few and short, but the database does contain descriptions of various Native American dances as well as many articles on Native American people, nations, culture and history.

Finally, the Black Hills Knowledge Network (, serving the Black Hills Community’s need for local information, has resources on current issues, data sets, and archival photos, maps and documents relating to Oglala history and culture. These can be accessed by choosing Pine Ridge from the menu or by entering applicable terms in the search box.

These resources can help you learn more about Native American powwows, but library patron Paul Wounded Head advises that there is no substitute for actually experiencing the powwow.

It is one of the largest social events in the Black Hills and all are welcome to attend. For more information on the Oglala Nation Powwow or any of the area powwows later this year, see the South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations website (

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