58th annual Hozhoni Days

FLC’s longest-running cultural celebration and premier spring event is Hozhoni Days, made up of the Hozhoni Days Powwow and Hozhoni Ambassador Exhibition. The Powwow, or "Days of Beauty," is a two-day event of scholarship exhibit, powwow, arts & crafts market, and celebration of cultures.

Hozhoni Days Powwow

History and Significance

Ambassador Exhibition

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

6-8 p.m., Student Union Ballroom

The Hozhoni Ambassador Scholarship Exhibition, formerly known as the Ms. Hozhoni Pageant, is a contest of public speaking and presentations. The person holding the Hozhoni Ambassador title is the ambassador of Wanbli Ota and the FLC Indigenous community.

Meet the 2023-24 Ambassador and First Attendant

Hozhoni Days Powwow

Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30, 2024

Whalen Gymnasium

The Hozhoni Days Powwow is a multi-day celebration of our vibrant Indigenous community at FLC. Dancers and singers from all over the United States participate in the Hozhoni Days Powwow.

Download the 2024 schedule of events

Attending the Hozhoni Days Powwow

Dance Contest categories
Maps & parking

Meet our Powwow Head Staff

Boye Ladd Sr.

Master of Ceremonies | Boye Ladd Sr.

HoChunk and Zuni Nation

I’m a wounded and decorated combat Veteran. I was active in State, Federal & International politics for over 30 yrs. I’m a Fancy & Hoop Dance World Champion and I’ve toured officially throughout  the world as an Entertainer, Choreographer,  and Director.

Marty Pinnecoose

Arena Director | Marty Pinnecoose

Southern Ute and Jicarilla Apache

Marty Pinnecoose is currently the Southern Ute Tribal Councilman and a champion grass dancer.

Chad Pfieffer

Head Gourd | Chad Pfieffer


Chad Pfeiffer is Diné, and has lived on & off the Navajo Nation. Chad incorporates both Indigenous & Western theoretical orientations to best serve the mental, emotional, behavioral and spiritual health of people. He has had opportunities to meet with many Knowledge Keepers, throughout Indian Country, fostering the spirit of wellness & cultural identity. Chad supports indigenous individuals, families & communities as both a licensed professional counselor and also as a traditional cultural counselor.

Rick Yazzie

Head Judge | Rick Yazzie

Navajo Diné, Doko'o'osliid / Flagstaff, AZ

Greetings Everyone, Appreciate the invite to be your Head Judge for this year's Pow-wow. Always a pleasure to come and help our Indigenous Student. Being around this Circle is a Blessing, with Prayers, Songs and Dancing. Embellish all the gifts from Creator and celebrate.. Aho!

Kyle Toya

Head Man | Kyle Toya

Pueblo and Comanche

My name is Kyle Toya, and I am from Zia Pueblo. My parents are Steven and Phyllis Toya. I am part Comanche and Pueblo. I have been dancing in the powwow circle for 12 years and been a cultural performer for 15 years. I also sing and make drums when I’m not dancing. I enjoy fishing and target shooting as my hobbies. I have been at the Fort for 5 years and on track to graduate this spring.

Sloan Shotton

Head Woman | Sloan Shotton

Otoe Missouria, Kiowa, Iowa, Wichita, Cheyenne and Caddo

My Otoe Missouria name is Woska-Pimi. I came from the owl clan of the Otoe Missouria tribe and I am also apart of Kiowa, Iowa, Wichita, Cheyenne and Caddo tribes of Oklahoma. I’m a Public Health major with a minor in Nutrition and Native American and Indigenous studies.

I played 4 years of college softball here at the Fort and currently I work with the RSO WellPAC on campus. I plan to go on to a dental hygienist program at Oklahoma University in the Fall of 2025. I would like to thank the Wanbli Ota Powwow Committee for giving me this opportunity and a special thank you to all my family and friends for supporting me throughout college.

Pine Country Tabulations

Tabulator | Shamaray & Nathan Littlechild / Pine Country Tabulations

Diné and Cree

We are Shamaray & Nathan Littlechild. We reside in Flagstaff, AZ. We are Diné and Cree. We have been tabulating for over 20 years and travel all over the U.S. and Canada. We take pride in providing efficient and accurate results. See you at Grand Entry!

Buc Wild

Southern Host Drum | Buc Wild

Chinle, Arizona

Shiprock Agency host drum

Northern Host Drum | Shiprock Agency

Diné and Lakota

The Shiprock Agency singers originate from Shiprock, NM, USA and are composed of members of the Navajo (Dine’) Nation and Lakota Nation. The drum group originated in the year 2006 but original singers have been singing many years prior with various drums throughout Indian Country. The Shiprock Agency singers have been honored to serve as this year’s Host Drum for Hozhoni Days Powwow 2024. The drum group provides songs sung in the traditional original style singing and continue to be invited and serve as host drum at powwows throughout Indian Country. 

Hozhoni Days history

Hozhoni Days date back to 1966, when the Shalako Indian Club, an early incarnation of today's Wanbli Ota student organization, turned a small on-campus event into a full-blown celebration and renamed the multi-day event "Hozhoni Days." Over the years, the Hozhoni Days powwow grew into a large, two-day contest powwow. 

The "Father of Hozhoni Days"

The title "Hozhoni Days" was bestowed by Clyde Benally, now known as "the Father of Hozhoni Days." Benally was a first-year student when FLC's Deans asked him to help make the Shalako Club more active, which he did by creating Hozhoni Days. "It was to have the students work together, so they get to know each other, and to share their Native culture, and to showcase it to the total student body on campus," said Benally, who graduated in 1968 with a degree in Humanities.

Benally chose the title "Hozhoni," a Navajo term roughly meaning "beauty" that also alludes to a more profound sense of harmony and balance, because it represented the event's goals. "It was the showing and sharing of our culture with each other and a way of developing brotherhood and sisterhood with other students who may be from different cultures."

Hozhoni Day dancers and flag bearers at Fort Lewis College.

Wanbli Ota student organization

The Shalako Indian Club's name changed in the 1970s to Wambidiota Club, eventually taking on the present moniker, Wanbli Ota -- meaning "many eagles" in the Lakota language -- in 1991. Wanbli Ota is a registered student organization and remains the prime sponsor of Hozhoni Days. It also puts on events, including public presentations, speakers and artists, workshops, and cultural performances.

View more Wanbli Ota events

Wanbli Ota logo

Our sponsors

Wanbli O'ta logo
CommonSpirit logo

Contact us

Native American Center

Phone: 970-247-7221
Email: nativeamericancenter@fortlewis.edu

Vendor check-in and day-of-event

Lisa Cate
Email: lscate@fortlewis.edu
Phone: 970-247-7221