posted October 9, 2007

Third Annual Pow Wow Will Be Oct. 20

A traditional pow wow of Native American peoples has been scheduled in the Holland area for a third consecutive year.

The pow wow, which will feature the theme "Honoring Our Ancestors" and is scheduled in a spirit of reconciliation, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Holland Civic Center, with highlights including Grand Entries at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., and a ceremony of reconciliation at 5:15 p.m.  An address on the meaning of warrior/veteran in the Native community of the Three Fires people will precede the pow wow, and will take place at the Maas Center conference room at Hope College on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.

The public is invited to both the pow wow, which will also feature hand-crafted goods displayed and sold by Native American vendors, and the lecture.  Admission to the lecture is free.  Admission to the pow wow is $5 for regular admission, $3 for students, $8 for families, and free for elders and pre-schoolers, and will help defray the traveling expenses for the dancers participating in the event.

The address on Oct. 17 will be presented by George Martin, who is a nationally known head veteran and traditional dancer, and five additional guest speakers of the Native community of West Michigan.  The event will open with a flag ceremony, with introduction of the speakers by Roger Williams, a Native person of the Pokagon Potawatomi Nation and retired State of Michigan employee.

Martin is Ojibwe and from birth has been taught and has taught traditional native ways of the Three Fires Mide Society.  A United States Air Force veteran and retired auto worker, Martin will speak of the Ogitchedaw (veteran/warrior societies) and their meaning to the Native community.

The five members of the Saginaw-Chippewa Tribe Ogitchedaw of Mount Pleasant will relate their personal military experience to those present, with a question-and-answer period following.

The pow wow on Oct. 20, presented by the Anishnabek of West Michigan, will feature Native dancers in regalia, Native singers and drummers as well as traders of Native-made wares and Native American food. The event's planning committee anticipates participants from throughout Michigan.

Dances presented during the pow wow will include the Northern Traditional Men's Dance, the Northern Traditional Women's Dance, the Traditional Men's Grass Dance, the Traditional Women's Jingle Dance, the Fancy Dance for men, the Fancy Dance for women and intertribal dances for all peoples.

Those with leading roles during the pow wow will include Deuce Miller, head veteran; John Bush, master of ceremonies; Odel Chalifoux, arena director; Rodney Loonsfoot, head male dancer; Angel Jackson, head female dancer; and Southern Wind, host drum.  In addition, the ceremony of reconciliation at 5:15 p.m. will be led by the Rev. Mike Peters.  Peters leads Four Fires Ministries, a Native American congregation in Grand Rapids.

The Native Americans of the area refer to all Indians as Anishnabek people and themselves as the People of the Three Fires, also known as the Ottawa (Odawa), Chippewa (Ojibwe) and Potawatomi (Bodewatomi). The pow wow, a family event open to attendance by all peoples, has been planned by a gathering committee representing members of the West Michigan Native community and other Native Americans living in the area.

Martin's lecture is co-sponsored by the college's Office of Multicultural Education and Phelps Scholars Program, and multiple programs at Hope are among the sponsors for the pow wow. In addition to Hope, the pow wow's sponsors include several native tribes of Michigan, the Potawatomi Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.

The Maas Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street. The Holland Civic Center is located west of Pine Avenue at 150 W. Eighth St.