Mahkato Wacipi kicks off 50th year Friday

The 50th Mahkato Wacipi kicks off Friday.
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 7:34 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The 50th Mahkato Wacipi kicks off Friday.

The annual tradition celebrates and honors Dakota ancestors and traditions.

The Powwow aims to build bridges between all people through education and storytelling.

It started half a century ago and has been bringing people together in Mankato ever since for a weekend of dance, song, food and community.

Although this year marks the 50th anniversary, organizers say ideas started long before that to bring reconciliation after the Dakota 38+2 hangings.

“The conversation started a lot longer than 50 years ago,” Wacipi spokesperson Megan Schnitker said. “It started with a group of Indigenous people that came to the Mankato community and wanted to bring healing and rebuild that bridge. "

This year’s Wacipi will also honor Natalia Ashes, the 4-year-old killed by a fallen tree branch while camping at the Powwow last year. A Wiping of the Tears ceremony will be held for her family on Saturday.

“The idea of having the wiping of the tears, to happen one year later, is to end that mourning period. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the pain is gone, but it’s to help them move on in the grieving process,” Schnitker explained.

The Powwow will kick off Friday at 7 p.m. in Land of Memories Park.

Festivities are open to the public and will be held all weekend long.