Vince is an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation Ojibway Tribe of Minnesota and recently retired after 29 years the Director of Indian Education in the Bemidji Public Schools. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam from 1970-1971.
Before picking up the mic and announcing, he was a traditional dancer who competed and traveled to many champion powwows throughout the US and Canada. As an educator, Vince has had the great honor and privilege to work with American Indians of all ages in promoting educational opportunities, personal enhancement, and spiritual growth among Native students.
Vince would like to thank the United Tribes for inviting him to be one of the announcers for this year’s celebration along with the other head staff. Mii Gwitch !!!
Whitney Rencountre II
Whitney Rencountre II is Hunkpati Dakota from the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. Whitney is a Program Director for the Ateyapi Youth Mentoring Program in Rapid City, SD. Whitney has his Bachelor’s Degree from Black Hills State University. Whitney was also named, one of the 605 Magazine’s Young Leaders of 2017. Whitney is the Chairman of Visit Rapid City and Vice-Chair of the South Dakota Humanities Council. Whitney has been a Powwow Emcee for the following events: Black Hills Powwow, United Tribes International Powwow, Indio California Powwow, Black Hills State University Powwow, South Dakota Indian Education Summit, United Tribes Technical College Tribal Leaders Summit, and many other events through the years. Whitney was part of several powwow drum groups through the years including Bad Nation, Standing Horse, Midnite Express and Show Time. Whitney is excited to serve as Emcee for the great United Tribes International Powwow for the second year in a row!
Rusty Gillette is Arikara and Hidatsa from the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. He is the son of Vince and Connie Gillette and the grandson of Russell Gillette. He is a member of the Dead Grass Society in White Shield, ND. Rusty earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications with a Concentration in Public Relations from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. He currently works in various capacities including as liaison for Marketing companies and powwows across the country. Rusty is also a graphic artist for the past 23 years. His work includes everything from business cards and logos, to billboards and bus panels. He has done posters for powwows like Gathering of Nations, Pala, United Tribes, Thunderchild, Seven Clans, White Shield, Red Lake.
Rusty is also a grass dancer. He has been a dancer his whole life. Rusty has been fortunate enough to travel all across the U.S. and Canada dancing and also serving as head staff at powwows throughout Indian Country.
“I would like to thank the 2019 United Tribes Technical College International Powwow for making me a part of the 50th Annual. Tribes were always a favorite powwow of mine and it’s truly an honor to be asked back to work this year.”
Jonathan Windy Boy
Head Man Judge
Whether it is from his reputation of being a “caucus of one,” as an MT Senator/Legislator in supporting MT Tribal issues based upon principle versus prevailing views; from his role as a three-term Chippewa Cree Tribal Leader; or as an Internationally Renowned Champion Grass Dancer, whose talent made him a prominent household name throughout Indian Country; Senator Jonathan Windy Boy is recognized as a strategic visionary, whose motivational, self-sacrificing, and influential voice supports Tribes and addresses Tribal issues/concerns across the nation.
Influenced by his traditional and cultural lifestyle, Jonathan has been drug and alcohol-free for more than three decades. He graduated from Box Elder High School, after which he earned a degree in Telecommunications from the Southwestern Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), in New Mexico. During this time and although he started his pow wow dance career as a fancy dancer; Jonathan found his true passion as a grass dancer and became internationally known for his talent, skill, and unique style; winning an unprecedented number of grass dance competitions, including the International Championships in Bismarck, North Dakota 14 times, and the Gathering Of Nations Pow-Wow 15 times from 1984-1999. During this time, Jonathan also worked in various positions, from geophone placement in the seismic industry, and throughout all phases in the oil exploration and oil field industry.
Motivated by the soc-economic challenges faced by the Rocky Boy people; Jonathan entered the tribal political arena in 1998; whereby he subsequently served 12-years on the Chippewa Cree Tribal Council. In 2002, armed with the knowledge that Tribes, and therefore Tribal issues, were underrepresented at the State political level; Jonathan ran for the Montana House of Representatives and served three 2-year terms for six years. In 2008, Representative Windy Boy ran for a bid against an incumbent Senator for Montana Senate District 16 seat. Victorious in this election, Senator Windy Boy is serving his second 4-year term and because of term limits, he won’t be eligible to run again after 2016.
In his position with the State of Montana; Senator Windy Boy has initiated, led, and succeeded in influencing legislative support and laws addressing Tribal issues throughout Montana. For instance, his efforts incited a $17.5 million dollar clean-up of the defunct Pegasus Gold mine in North Central Montana; he led key legislative deals with human services, such as holding Domestic Violence offenders accountable; as well as getting an interim study to examine Child Trauma caused from Domestic Violence passed. Senator Windy Boy also supported SR9, the “Idle No More Movement’ in Canada that is supported by Montana and went Global. Moreover and although they didn’t pass the House Human Services Committee; Senator Windy Boy is on record for supporting SB 298, “ACE’s “Adverse Childhood Experiences,” and SB 272, the “Montanan Indian Child Welfare Act,” legislation. Finally and to highlight two of Senator Windy Boy’s many legislative accomplishments; his actions to amended House Bill 2, (state budget) to include the “Non Beneficiary Funding” to the base budget, was met with success, equating to $386,000 per biennium (2-years), consequently allows Tribes and Tribal Colleges to request re-authorization for funding every two years, whereby before this was a one-time-only funding source. Senator Windy Boy was also met with unprecedented success by introducing SB 342, the “Native American Language Preservation Act,” as the State of Montana is the first state in the country to implement such a law, with a $2 million dollar appropriation for the 7 reservations to share.
Throughout his career, Jonathan has served on many Regional and National Committees in various capacities and has helped establish many organizations from the ground up. More recently and since 2011, Senator Windy Boy has been employed as a Public Relations/Policy Advisor for Plaingreen L.L.C., a tribal online lending company, owned and operated by the Chippewa Cree Tribe. As a tribal enterprise, Plaingreen, LLC provides jobs and economic development opportunities for the Chippewa Cree Nation. Relative to his role with Plaingreen, LLC, Senator Windy Boy has played a key role in the evolution of the Native American Lending Alliance (NALA) organization, which is made up of member tribes from across the country, that offer online lending services. In his role, Senator Windy Boy advises and makes recommendations to the NALA member tribes in accordance with the organization’s policies that provide an opportunity for member tribes to protect tribal sovereignty.
When Senator Windy Boy termed out in the Montana Senate in 2016, he ran for the House District 32 seat. After winning re-election in 2018 Representative Windy Boy got appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, Joint Sub-committee on General Government. Only 22 House members have this distinct honor. Of the 22 members
committee, 10 are Democrats. During the past few sessions. Representative Windy Boy passed landmark legislation. Language Preservation, Language Immersion Programs in Public Schools. Suicide Prevention, to name a few.
May 3, 2017, Mr. Windy Boy was hired by the Chippewa Cree Tribe as the THPO (tribal historic preservation officer). Who is authorized to represent the tribe during the consultation process on specific projects related to the Tribal Cultural Properties of the Chippewa Cree Tribe? The goal and purpose of the job also consist of the NAGPRA ( native American graves protection and recovery act). This responsibility is to be the lead member of my tribe to repatriate human remains and tribal cultural properties as well.
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Novi Runs Above
Head Singing Judge
Novi Runs Above descends from the Oglala Lakota, Shinnecock Algonquin, and Northern Cheyenne people. He has been singing and dancing in the powwow circle his entire life. Throughout his travels, he has been very fortunate to have met and visited with many relatives and friends, learning and sharing the teachings and ways of different tribes. Novi has worked with native youth in various capacities teaching, coaching and providing mentorship.
He currently resides in New Town, ND with his beautiful family, Cheyenne Brady and their two sons Javian Holy Rope and Taivyn Holy Arrow Runs Above. Novi graduated from the Indian Police Academy-Corrections Class 119 in 2018. He pursued his ambition of law enforcement graduating from the Lake Region State College Peace Officer Training Program Class 93 in April of this year. Novi is now a Patrol Officer with the Williston Police Department.
Novi is truly honored and humbled to have been called upon to serve as Head Singing Judge for the 50th annual United Tribes Technical College International “Home of the Champions” Powwow.
Knowing the meaningful history of this monumental celebration, in honor and memory of the great singers that shared their gift in years past, Novi and his family will provide 12 Pendleton chairs, drum sticks and drum to the Singing Champions.
“Being a singer is very hard my boy, we’re called upon and expected to know these songs, you have to learn these songs so you can make it happen for the people.” -the late Kenny Merrick Sr.