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NWC News Desk

Tipi-raising and smudging ceremony launch Native American Heritage Month at NWC

Posted October 26, 2016
By NWC News Desk

POWELL, Wyoming — In celebration of Native American Heritage Month at Northwest College, a second annual Tipi-Raising will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9, beginning at 4 p.m. in the yard of the NWC Intercultural House. Following the raising, area residents are invited to participate in a smudging ceremony. Both events are sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Programs and admission is free.

Johnny Tim Yellowtail, Marenda Bearshield and Chris Finley will team up to raise the tipi.

Yellowtail is a member of the Crow Nation raised in the Apsáalooke ways. Bearshield is a full-blooded member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. Finley, adopted by the Hill family into the Crow Tribe, is an archaeologist and former cultural resource program manager for the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

The three will discuss the significance of tipis to Native Americans, both historically and in today’s world. They’ll demonstrate how to raise a tipi honoring the Apsáalooke tradition, explaining how various tribal practices call for differences in tipi-raising.

The group will also perform a traditional smudging ceremony in which plants such as sage, cedar, sweet grass or bear root are bundled together and burned at one end. Smoke from the bundles is then fanned to create a cleansing bath of smoke. According to Bearshield, this daily tradition is used to purify one’s mind and body as prayers are lifted with the smoke.

The 20th Annual Buffalo Feast also comes to NWC as part of Native American Heritage Month in November. Sponsored by the NWC Native Ways Club, the Buffalo Feast will be held in the Yellowstone Building Conference Center on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m.

Information about these and other events can be found on the NWC calendar at