Stephen Yellowhawk was born in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. He was inspired to dance and learn more about his culture primarily from some situations that arose in his schooling. His grandfather then created his first regalia, and he started dancing at 14 years old.

“Traditional dancing and my Christian belief have strengthened my self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect and love for all my relatives,” Stephen said. “It has opened many doors and created many paths for my family and I.”He has been the board president for the Black Hills Powwow Association for 10 years and has seen this powwow become one of the largest in the world.

“This leadership opportunity is a blessing for me. My grandfather has told me stories of coming to visit Rapid City in the 1950s, and things were quite different here then,” Stephen said. “He says he remembers seeing signs on some of the store fronts that said ‘No Indians allowed,’ but now to have one of the largest powwows in the world in this same community shows how far we have come as a community, working on building bridges within our diverse community.”

The Black Hills Powwow has become one of the largest in the world. Courtesy

For more information on Rapid City, visit VisitRapidCity.com.