The SMSC Wacipi is a traditional Native American celebration of life. It is a time when people gather to dance, sing, and celebrate, while renewing friendships, old and new. The SMSC hosts dancers and drum groups from all over the country, where they compete for top honors and prize money. The SMSC invites the public to learn about and experience Dakota culture firsthand at the SMSC Wacipi on August 20-22. Because there are many sacred aspects to this event, there are certain etiquette guidelines that attendees are asked to follow:
Wacipi is a sacred gathering, and it is important to be respectful at all times. Attendees are asked to refrain from talking during prayers. The master of ceremonies will indicate when it is appropriate to stand during various songs and prayers throughout the event. The elderly and those who have a medical condition may sit if needed.
The Arena has a grassy, sacred middle area and has been blessed for the gathering. In the very center of the Arena are flagpoles and holders for eagle staffs and flags. Do not smoke, allow children to play, or use the area to cut across or as a shortcut.
Always ask before touching anyone’s regalia, as some regalia is sacred or has been ritually purified. Regalia often shows designs, colors, and other ornamentation that represent the wearer’s tribe, family, or political or marital status.
Because the drum holds special significance, it is important not to touch any of the drums or drumsticks. Please avoid walking between the chairs and the drum.
Eagle Feather/Fallen Warrior Ceremony
This ceremony is conducted when an eagle feather falls to the ground. Veterans retrieve the “Fallen Warrior.” The SMSC has the highest respect for waŋbdi, the eagle, and the possession of an eagle feather is an honor.
Please note: Photography is not allowed during this ceremony.
Learn more about what to expect at the 2021 SMSC Wacipi at smscwacipi.org.