Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

BHSU student competes for Miss He Sapa Win at the Black Hills Powwow

Brianna Amaral
Tristine Cross Dog finished in second place in the Miss He Sapa Win Pagent at the Black Hills Powwow

The He Sapa Wacipi Na Oskate, or Black Hills Powwow and Celebration, is an event that brings in thousands of singers, dancers, artists and spectators from the United States and Canada to enjoy the culture of indigenous people. This year the event was held at the Summit Arena at The Monument from Oct. 6-8. The theme of this year’s powwow was “Come Dance With Us.”

During the celebration, additional events such as hahand gamesa fashion show and the Miss He Sapa Win, or Miss Black Hills Woman, occurred. Black Hills State University (BHSU) student, Tristine Cross Dog, was a contestant in the Miss He Sapa Win pageant. 

Cross Dog is from Oglala, S.D., and attended Red Cloud High School. She was the only girl born in her family of 10 children. Cross Dog is majoring in applied health science and plans to enter nursing school after graduating from BHSU.

“I was a baby when I started dancing,” Cross Dog said. “Literally two weeks out of the hospital my parents took me to a powwow and then my dance career started.”

Cross Dog has danced her entire life and has dabbled in all women’s dance categories: jingle, fancy and traditional. She has danced traditional the longest and is currently a traditional dancer.

“I love getting myself out there and having people remember you wherever you go,” Cross Dog said.

Her favorite part about dancing is meeting new people, traveling to new places and seeing how other communities run their powwows. Recently, she has enjoyed traveling with her younger brother to different places as he has started dancing. 

This is not Cross Dog’s first time running for this title. She ran for the first time in 2022 and finished in 3rd place.

“The first time I ran I was really nervous which was a big factor when competing,” Cross Dog said.

This year, Cross Dog was one of nine contestants for the pageant. The pageant consisted of a long process of an application, an interview, a speech, a dance, an essay and presentation of regalia. These were the categories each contestant was scored on.

“The judges asked us questions in Lakota and asked us about treaties and sovereignty,” Cross Dog said.

The judges believe that to be Miss He Sapa Win, a woman needs to have proper knowledge of their tribe and the “Oceti Sakowin” or “Seven Council Fires.”

Cross Dog won one of the categories during the pageant, “Best Regalia.” The beaded design of her leggings included the colors of white, Cheyenne pink, red, green, blue and orange. 

“It showcases that we as Lakota people live in two worlds,” Cross Dog said of her regalia design. “The tipis symbolize the two worlds and hooked onto them is a stake that grounds me in both worlds.”

The judges determine who wins this category based on a detailed description of the contestant’s regalia, the meaning behind their regalia, the colors of their regalia and the poise they have when presenting.

During the crowning of Miss He Sapa Win, Cross Dog finished in second place. As the runner up, if the winner of Miss He Sapa Win is unable to fulfill her duties for this next year, then Cross Dog will take over the duties for the remainder of the reign. This is a huge accomplishment for her and she now knows what to expect next year when she runs. 

”I think I will better prepare for the essay because it’s difficult working under pressure and thinking about what to write about,” Cross Dog said. 

This year she was excited more than nervous and believed that her experience helped her a lot during the competition.

“I ran for the title because I want to be a good role model for the youth on the rez,” Cross Dog said.

Representation is everything when it comes to holding a title as prestigious as Miss He Sapa Win. Cross Dog wants to be able to represent the Oceti Sakowin in a good way. In addition, she also wants to be an idol for the youth as a college graduate.

“I want them to know they can do it all,” Cross Dog said. “Going to college and representing the Oyate in a good way.”

One of Cross Dog’s goals is to earn the title of Miss He Sapa Win next year, as she is only eligible to run for two more years. 

“I mean third times a charm, right?” Cross Dog said. 

About the Contributors
Sapphire Tiger, Senior Staff Writer
Brianna Amaral
Brianna Amaral, Photographer & Reporter