Missoulian reporter Kim Briggeman takes us inside the Kyi-Yo powwow held on the University of Montana’s campus last weekend.
It’s one of the oldest campus powwows around and this year was another celebration to remember.
The sun is coming up on a new powwow season, the perfect time for Diana Cote of Arlee to bring her group of young drummers back to the University of Montana.
“We’ve been singing ever since my boys were just babies,” Cote said Saturday as she waited to perform at the 44th annual Kyi-Yo Celebration. “My oldest boy is 40, so we’ve been singing for awhile.”
Cote’s name in her native Bitterroot Salish is Scnpaqci – or Sunrise. That’s the name of her drum group, too.
“You know when the sun first comes up, that’s when you awake, so when you think of sunrise you’re awaking to the drums,” she said. “So I always have youngsters at my drum. They’re just learning to sing.”
The philosophy fit well into the theme of this year’s powwow – “Empowerment through Education.”
Cote’s drum was set up on the east side of the Adams Center arena. Even as she spoke, another of the professional drum groups on the west side launched into a song with a pulsing beat.
“We’re not entering into the contest because we’re not trying to say we’re the best or nothing,” Cote said. “We’re just honoring our way of life to sing and be one with the creator and earth.”
Cote, who’ll turn 61 in June, said sometimes during the summer powwows she’ll notice a small boy or girl nearby watching the group.
Read the rest of the story.
And don’t miss the video of Kyi-Yo.