Community-focused festival on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation creates fun and cultural environment

August 28, 2013

Photos by Jenice Johnson
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where our headquarters is located, isn't short of colorful and family-friendly events to take part -- especially over the summer months.

The Wazi Paha Festival, which took place this past weekend, celebrates community and culture. Located at the Oglala Lakota College Pow Wow Grounds, Wazi Paha features traditional hand games, pow wow competitions, garden vegetable contests, tug-of-war, sack races and venders.







Participants in the hand game competition.


They even had a jalapeno-eating contest. Shannon Freed of Earth Tipi took the below photo because I actually decided to enter the competition myself but I didn't win!

jalapeno-eating contest

Ted won first place. He's pictured on the far right.


There were a number of community members who danced in the pow wow portion of the Wazi Paha -- all of them winning awards for participating.

One of the competitions was the Switch Dance


One of the competitions was the Switch Dance in which female and male dancers switch places and perform one another's specialties.

Corey Stover in a traditional jingle dress next to Emma Sioux Mann who is wearing his Men's Fancy regalia for the Switch Dance competitions. Corey won first place for his performance.

Corey Stover in a traditional jingle dress next to Emma Sioux Mann who is wearing his Men's Fancy regalia for the Switch Dance competitions. Corey won first place for his performance.

Emma won second place for her Men's Fancy performance.

Emma won second place for her Men's Fancy performance.

Tanya Little Boy won first place for her Men's Traditional.

Tanya Little Boy won first place for her Men's Traditional.


The Rabbit Dance, which is similar to a two-step, was another traditional dance competition.


The Rabbit Dance, which is similar to a two-step, was another traditional dance competition.


Several community members entered their garden fresh veggies into contests at the festival. Some of them created variety baskets for judging. Alicia Mousseau of Porcupine, SD, won first place for her basket.



Wazi Paha drew a large crowd plus plenty of smiles, camaraderie and kiddos. This is Jacki showing off tomatoes from her garden.

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