My dream was to inspire youth to connect to their culture through powwows.  During my Dreamstarter year, I taught beading, dancing and stories through the Powwow Project. Over the past three years, I’ve have continued to work to remind our Native youth of their culture; where they come from as Cheyenne people; and to teach them new skills.

The Powwow Project has been so successful that I was able to apply and receive a Dreamstarter Keep the Dream Alive grant to help buy fabric, leather and other items to help the Native students in the program create their own powwow outfits.

Over the past year, I realized that the some of the students who benefited most from the Powwow Project were two students who are from a local group home run by non-tribal members and receive very little guidance about how to stay connected with their Native community. Another girl who has really been helped by the program lost her mother in an accident and is being raised by her grandmother. Her mother used to make all of her powwow outfits. Through the Powwow Project, she was able to learn the same skills as her mother and is now one of the most skilled artisans of her age on the reservation. By creating her own powwow outfits, she is able to maintain her connection to her mother and her community through our local social dances.

Although there are many students involved with the Powwow Project have loving parents or relatives, the students who have thrived or flourished the most have typically been kids without parents. When I first started the Powwow Project, it wasn’t my intention to work with students without parents or from group homes, but these were the students who were most drawn to the project and who sign up for every class. I learned that staying connected to your community can be hard when you don’t have parents or relatives to teach you.

 –  Rosalia Badhorse, 2016 Dreamstarter

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