In 2010, the Southwest Wyoming Intertribal Powwow Association presented a traditional Indian powwow with dancers, games and live drum and singer groups. This powwow was held at Laramie Country Community College and attended by more than 1,000 spectators, along with three drum groups and 25 dancers.
Those days are gone now. As Native American Heritage Month is here in November, the organization is no longer active due to no one willing to do the work necessary to keep the group going.
During the years of 2008-14, the southwest association was active, and the group is still registered as 501c.3 non-profit organization.
According to Ray Livermont, the current president, after several of the elders resigned from the committee because of health and other obligations, the younger generation did not want to shoulder the responsibility without some elder guidance and supervision.
There were no other elders available who wanted or knew how to do the job.
“There was only a small group of active members, and the activities diminished as the elders passed away or moved away,” Livermont said. “It was sad that happened, as the younger members would lose their heritage as the elders were not there to provide training. It would be great for the organization to continue to teach the culture, heritage and principles to keep the organization active.”
According to Bryan Harris, the current vice president, another reason for the decline in activities was due to non-participation of both native and non-native people. According to the last census, there are approximately 580 Native Americans living in Cheyenne.
According to Mark Perkins, director of institutional research at LCCC, there are 38 Native American students enrolled this semester: That’s 0.079 percent of the population.
One activity to recognize the Native American Heritage month in 2019 is being scheduled by the Wyoming State Museum. The museum plans to display several of its rarest artifacts, said Mark Brammer, museum director
At press time LCCC is working on an activity to help celebrate the 2019 National Native American Heritage Month.
In 1990, then-President George H.W. Bush declared that the month of November will be National Native American Month. Every year the celebration has a theme, and this year’s theme is “Guiding Our Destiny with Heritage and Traditions: Leading the Way to Healthier Nations.”
The Wyoming State Museum will have the Native American display available for viewing during normal museum hours of 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. You can view some of the most popular artifacts at the museum’s website at wyomuseum.state.wy.us.