Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians participates in 2020 Virtual Potawatomi Gathering

DOWAGIAC — The 2020 Potawatomi Gathering was canceled this year due to COVID-19, but the Potawatomi bands across the state came together to organize a Virtual Potawatomi Gathering.

The gathering took place from Aug. 20 to Aug. 22 via Zoom.

“The Gun Lake Tribe’s elders department was pretty sad that they were going to miss the gathering,” said Marcus Winchester, director of language and culture for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. “They decided that they wanted to throw something together virtually.”

The seven federally recognized Potawatomi bands — The Citizen Potawatomi Nation (Oklahoma), Forest County Potawatomi Community (Wisconsin), Hannahville Indian Community (Michigan), Gun Lake (Michigan), Nottawaseppi Huron Band (Michigan), Pokagon Band and the Prairie Band (Kansas) — meet every year at a different location to celebrate and to recognize that at one time, they all were part of one Potawatomi nation.

This year, other local bands of Native Americans were allowed to participate in the virtual gathering, which consisted of workshops including language, crafts, star constellations and more.

The gathering also featured song and dance competitions, including woodland, scrub and a TikTok challenge.

“I think it’s really important,” Winchester said. “It’s a testimony as to how resilient we are as a people that we were able to pull this off,” Winchester said. “We always find a way to adapt and overcome. Says a lot about our people that we can make things happen.”


Available results from the virtual gathering are as follows:

Mens Woodland

  • First place — Dana Warrington; Menominee & Prairie Band
  • Second place — Nick Shepard; Forest County
  • Third place — Tommy Wahrotten; Prairie Band

Womens Scrub

  • First place — Jamie Awonohopay; Menominee, Prairie Band, and Meskwaki
  • Second place — Payton Roberts; Prairie Band
  • Third place — Alicia Scholfield; Prairie Band

Youth Woodland

  • First place — Kenew Awonohopay; Menominee, Prairie Band, and Meskwaki
  • Second place — Payton Roberts; Prairie Band
  • Third place — Gegek Webkamigad; Hannahville

Youth Scrub

  • First place — Seneca Pyawasit; Ojibwe, Menominee, Potawatomi & Hochunk
  • Second place — Penelope Miller; Prairie Band

Youth Drum

  • First place — Payton Roberts; Prairie Band
  • Second place — Kenew Awonohopay; Menominee, Prairie Band, and Meskwaki

Adult Drum

  • First place — Doug Thomas; Prairie Band



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