Fourth Annual Teton Powwow – May 18

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 Central Wyoming College (CWC) and Native American Jump Start (NAJS) proudly present the Fourth Annual Teton Powwow this Saturday, May 18.  The Teton Powwow will be held at Munger Mountain Elementary School, 7605 US Hwy 89, 12 miles south of Jackson. 

The powwow promises a vibrant celebration of Native American culture, featuring traditional dances, drumming, and indigenous-inspired dishes. Spectators and participants are encouraged to embrace the outdoor setting by bringing their own chairs and dressing for the weather. 

The event holds special significance as it takes place on the ancestral grounds of Jackson Hole, which bear the heritage of numerous Native nations, including the Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho, Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce, and Crow peoples. This connection to the land adds depth and meaning to the event, highlighting its cultural and historical importance.

Profile photo of Ivan Posey
Ivan Posey

“At the Powwow, the drums and dancers celebrate a tradition that transcends time, honoring and reaffirming the richness of our tribal culture,” said Ivan Posey, Central Wyoming College’s Tribal Education Coordinator/Director of the Institute of Tribal Learning and a member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe. 

Dancers, representing various tribes from across the West, will be showcasing both traditional and contemporary dance forms. Their performances are set to vividly capture the legacy and vitality of Indigenous cultures, offering a captivating display of movement and tradition.

Native American Jump Start also offers a College Student Dance special for enrolled Native students. Three men and three women have the chance to win a $1,000 scholarship each to support their college expenses.

Profile photo of Dave Deschenes
Dave Deschenes

“As a Jackson-based nonprofit focused on supporting Native education and employment opportunities, we are excited to welcome these students to participate in our college special and be able to support their journey as they pursue their college careers,” says David Deschenes, Chief Advancement Officer for Native American Jump Start.

Among some of the distinguished dancers attending are Joseph Pratt from Oklahoma, esteemed as the Head Man Dancer, and April Kaulity from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, recognized as the Head Lady Dancer. 

Also in attendance will be John Butler, respected as the Honored Male Elder, traveling from Texas, and Sandra Plentywounds, esteemed as the Honored Female Elder, representing Idaho’s Fort Hall Reservation. Providing rhythmic accompaniment will be the resonant beats of two host drums. Mato Pejuta, hailing from Santee Nebraska, and Little Brave, proudly representing the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.

Profile photo of Susan Durfee
Susan Durfee

“The Teton Powwow is not just an event; it is also history, culture, and community. From the youngest dancers taking their first steps to the revered elders sharing their wisdom, each moment is a testament to the resilience and beauty of Indigenous heritage,” says Susan Durfee, Dean of Central Wyoming College Jackson.

Amya Whispering Rain Whelan, representing multiple tribes from the Wind River Reservation, will mesmerize the Teton Powwow attendees with her captivating Hoop Dance, embodying her deep cultural pride. For Whelan, the powwow holds profound significance as it brings together her entire family across generations, from ages 4 to 88. 

Photo of Amya Whispering Rain Whelan
Amya Whispering Rain Whelan

“The Teton Powwow isn’t just an event; it’s a vibrant tapestry of traditions where connections are forged, and stories are shared,” Whelan says. “For me, it’s a celebration of heritage and a platform to showcase my talents.”

Next Darious Tillman, a proud member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and graduate of CWC, will take the stage with a Native American Sign Language demonstration with captivating storytelling that brings ancient signs to life.  

To conclude, painter Al Hubbard of the Northern Arapaho Tribe will discuss his journey as a contemporary Native American artist, providing insights into his inspiration and artistic process.

In addition to the traditional displays, the full-day event authentically reflects Indigenous customs, emphasizing unity, heritage, and community spirit. Central Wyoming College culinary students will offer indigenous-inspired dishes alongside regional food vendors. Attendees can also explore diverse arts, including beaded jewelry and artwork from various tribes.

Central Wyoming College’s Tribal Wisdom Society students will host a free educational presentation, Wind River Cultural Presentations on Friday, May 17. This event will be held at the Center for the Arts Theater from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Two informational and engaging one-hour-long presentations, meticulously crafted with the interests of students in mind, will grace the stage.

The presentations epitomize the commitment to spreading cultural awareness and knowledge, inviting both school-aged students and the general public to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Indigenous heritage. 

Profile photo of Dr. Brad Tyndall
Dr. Brad Tyndall

Prioritizing the sharing of Native American culture and fostering educational opportunities stand as key goals for Central Wyoming College and Native American Jump Start. Both organizations actively provide internships, scholarships, and various forms of support for Indigenous students.

“We are proud of the programming that we do through our Bachelor’s in Tribal Leadership, and the outreach of the Institute for Tribal Leadership,” says President Brad Tyndall. “Our outreach especially through this powwow reminds us all of the important role American Indians play in our country.”


Central Wyoming College and Native American Jump Start are excited to announce the new location at the Munger Mountain Elementary School.  This new venue will allow the event to be held outside as many summer traditional powwows are held. Spectators and participants should dress for the weather and are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

If you go:
What: Wind River Cultural Presentation, Friday May 17
Where: Center for the Arts Theatre, 240 S. Glenwood St., Jackson, WY 83001
When: Friday, May 17, 2024 – Free one-hour presentations, 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

What: 4th Annual Teton Powwow, Saturday May 18
Where: Munger Mountain Elementary School – 7605 US Hwy 89 (12 miles South of Jackson)  
When: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

10 a.m.  Ground Blessing, 10:30 a.m. Dancer Registration Opens, 12 p.m. Grand Entry
Cost: $15 per car admission. All Native Americans are free.


For more information on tribal nations who historically inhabited this region, use this reference please.

All Photos Courtesy of Central Wyoming College


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