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White Shield Powwow Grounds

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1960s and 1970s. ND 1804, 0.5 miles southeast of White Shield, Fort Berthold Reservation of the Three Affiliated Tribes

Powwow grounds are a culturally important architectural type on many reservations. Traditionally, powwow grounds were constructed as “bowers,” or circular enclosures, often with cedar or willow branches forming the roof canopy. The more permanently constructed powwow grounds just south and east of White Shield provide a good example for visitors of this kind of backdrop for ceremonial dance. Guests should feel welcome at scheduled Powwow celebrations. It is considered respectful to refer to the elaborately beautiful attire of dancers as regalia and not consider it as superficial or arbitrary costuming. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, outdoor powwow grounds were augmented by enclosed sacred dance lodges, like one that has been documented under the Historic American Buildings Survey, near the village of Elbowoods, which, sadly, now lies below the waters of Lake Sakakawea, south of present-day White Shield, as a result of the Garrison Dam (ML4) construction.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "White Shield Powwow Grounds", [Roseglen, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 136-136.

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