Pokagon pow wow Sept. 3-4 in DowagiacPublished 6:08pm Friday, August 26, 2011
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi invites the public to its 26th Annual Kee-Boon-Mein-Kaa Pow Wow, the annual celebration of traditional singing, dancing and culture, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 4.
The Pokagon Band’s pow wow arena is located at its Rodgers Lake headquarters at 58620 Sink Rd., Dowagiac. Parking and admission are free.
New this year to Kee-Boon-Mein-Kaa is a concert by the Mt. Pleasant, Mich. women’s drum group SnoBirds, at noon Saturday. Also making their debut at Rodgers Lake, the Chivis family hoop dancers, from Benzonia, Mich. at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Kee-boon-mein-kaa in the Potawatomi language refers to the end of the huckleberry harvest, a traditional time of celebration for the Potawatomi people. The pow wow draws dancers and drummers from the Great Lakes and beyond to compete for prize money in several categories: traditional, contemporary and a Great Lakes old-style dance category, which showcases regalia reflecting traditional Potawatomi and Great Lakes styles and designs not usually seen on the pow wow trail. Vendors will also be selling native artwork, jewelry, crafts and goods, as well as traditional food. Presentations will be given throughout the weekend on such topics as black ash basketmaking, copperwork and the native language.
To kick off the weekend, a group of Pokagon Band women will participate in the fourth annual Women’s Water Walk Friday, Sept. 2. Protecting the water is a traditional responsibility for women in Native American cultures. Following a sunrise ceremony, women and their supporters will walk 15 miles to the tribal campus at Rodgers Lake. This ceremony and act of walking honors and prays for the waters of the Pokagon Band homelands, and passes on these teachings to others.
The Grand Entries for the pow wow, which are the formal start of the dancing and songs, are at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday. On both mornings the vendors and cultural presenters will set up before the dancing starts; the gates to the pow wow grounds open at 10 a.m. For more details, visit the pow wow’s website at www.pokagonpowwow.com.