Younger generation takes over at Black Hills Powwow

The Black Hills Powwow may be known as one of the most popular American Indian cultural celebrations in the country, but one of things that makes the event so special is the amount of young people called upon to lead.

One of them is 16-year-old Genevieve Iron Lightning who was named Miss He Sapa Win 2017-2018 at this year's powwow. She says she's been dancing in pageants since she was three years old
and told me what goes through her mind as she stands in the light to represent her tribe.

Genevieve says, "To lead the people of my tribe, it makes me feel very proud to be Lakota. I have always wanted to be a good role model to the youth and my peers as well as all of my people."

Genevieve's grandmother says her granddaughter's advocacy and representation for the Native American community is one of a kind.

Dale Iron Lightning says, "I'm so proud of her for the young woman she has become and to remember her language and to babe proud of her culture and traditions and to keep that in her heart because she will always be Lakota."

Genevieve says that the boldness she possesses comes from the people who come before her and hopes that it will stick with the generations to come.

Although you can catch them singing their song and dancing their dance, some of the Native American youth say there's still work to be done. Some say somewhere in the years, their culture has gone missing in the shadows and shared with me some of the things they can do to bring it back.

Josephine Menard says, "Go to the elders, and just keep learning and keep learning and teach all the youth and hopefully we will have our culture back."

JT Largo is 15-years-old and he says his passion for the Lakota dance is like no other. He says he wears his regalia proudly and hopes to share his passion for his roots with all of the people he meets.

Largo says, "It's really cool because you get to dance and experience all of this throughout the summer and all school year too and if you're friends want to know what you do you get to show them in talent shows and performances."

As I went around the powwow and talked to many of the young people present, they all agree that throughout their daily lives, their Lakota heritage will always come first