Powwow preparation changes over the years

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BISMARCK, N.D. - This weekend marks the 50th annual United Tribes Technical College International Powwow.

Over the years, the Powwow has evolved, and so have preparations for the event.

Lavetta Fox knows this well. Her grandfather was the organizer of the first Powwow.

"He went down on the Bismarck streets with two of my uncles, Harley and Darrell, and they would dance and he would sing and people would come by and, you know, donate money to watch them dance," Fox said.

College officials say it takes about 200 volunteers and staff to prepare for this event.

Fox says over the years, she's noticed changes.

"It's very organized. I mean they got one space for vendors. They got the campers being all out in one area. They have, you know, all these cones out, especially for people that can park. So yeah, so, it's gotten to be a lot more organized," she explained.

Fox says she remembers her grandpa's stories of the first Powwows. She says there were less vendors and more traditional contests like rodeos and beauty pageants. She also says that today the Powwow is modernized with people coming in RVs, more vendors, more security and sports tournaments.

"You have your vendors, you have your singers, you have your dancers, you have your committee who is running everything making sure everybody's, you know, moving together and the schedule's moving along. So, the preparation for the Powwow starts weeks ago. And the preparation for what happens at the Powwow actually started when last years ended," said Rusty Gillette, arena director for the Powwow.

Fox says while the Powwow has grown to be more contemporary, the original ideals her grandpa envisioned for this event remain.

Gillette says in addition to preparation changes, the event itself has changed.

This year the prizes will be bigger and the number of groups competing is larger.