Pow Wow Memorial Day weekend

Published 6:51 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi invites the public to its second annual Oshke-Kno-Kewéwen Pow Wow, an annual celebration honoring Pokagon veterans and the community’s Eagle Staff. The gathering of traditional singing, dancing and culture will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29, at the Pokagon Band’s pow wow arena, located at its Rodgers Lake campus, 58620 Sink Road, Dowagiac.

Parking and admission are free.

Oshke-Kno-Kewéwen in the Potawatomi language refers to a new eagle staff, which is much like a flag.

Last year the Pokagon Band veterans began constructing a new eagle staff to represent the tribal community. The new staff holds more than 90 eagle feathers, each representing a tribal family’s veteran.

Last year marked the first time the Band assembled the staff and presented it in public, and the tribe honored the new eagle staff and the veterans represented on it with the pow wow.

This event is considered a traditional pow wow.

he Band’s long-running Kee-Boon-Mein-Kaa Pow Wow in the fall is a contest pow wow, where dancers compete before judges in different categories.

A traditional pow wow is a lower-key event focused on bringing the community together.

Part county fair, part family reunion, and part traditional ceremony, a pow wow is a time for native people to celebrate their identity and to visit and share with their friends in the greater community; and for traditional drum groups to sing their songs, for tribal dancers to perform their steps and for craftsmen and women to display their handiwork.

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 1 p.m. 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.