University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings hosts American Indian Heritage Day fun on Friday

September 27, 2012 



Reno Charette, American Indian Outreach, 657-2182
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — It will be all fun and games on Friday as American Indian students and their families at Montana State University Billings mark American Indian Heritage Day.


American Indian women at American Indian Heritage Day on the MSUB University campus

Recognized across Montana on Friday (Sept. 28) American Indian Heritage Day celebrates the rich culture of the state’s first people and tribes. This year, the American Indian Outreach office at MSU Billings will host “Come to the 49” at 5:30 p.m. at Peaks to Plains Park on the university campus just off of Rimrock Road.


The event, which is designed for youthful fun and games, is open to everyone and will last until about 9:30 p.m.


The “49” is a gathering of indigenous contemporary (usually youthful) folks that sing fun songs about love, or the disaster’s that come with it, according to Reno Charette, director of American Indian Outreach at MSU Billings and coordinator of the event.  The songs are sung in the customary manner of Indian music then repeated in English.  One large drum or a group of hand drums accompany the singers when they are available. 


Charette said that participants sing and perform the round dance around the singers and traditional regalia isn’t customarily used at a 49.


The songs and dances are intended to playful and fun enticements for potential friendships and romance between the young men and women. These activities are favorably attended by American Indian youth who make up new songs annually to express their encounters with the contemporary world.


Cash prizes will be given for most humorous 49 song, most beautiful 49 love song and most creative 49 song about MSU Billings. Vendors will be in the park and the event is open to anyone of any age.


To find out more, contact Charette at 657-2182 or at