The MSU Billings American Indian Outreach office will host “Come to the 49” at 5:30 p.m. today 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 disasters 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.
Recognized across Montana on Friday (Sept. 28) American Indian Heritage Day celebrates the rich culture of the state’s first people and tribes.