With November being National Native American Heritage Month, Forest County Potawatomi (FCP) Education/Culture and FCP Community Health departments hosted a powwow and potluck on Nov. 21, 2017, in honor of Neshnabé gizes.
The powwow was held at the FCP Recreation Building and what a night it was! Jeff Keeble Sr., culture advisor, along with Melanie Tatge, public health educator/ accreditation coordinator, decided there needed to be something done to help celebrate Native American Heritage month, and this event was the result. It turned out to be a very successful event, and it showed how closely-knit this community is. It brought in families and friends who enjoyed a night of feasting, dancing, singing, laughing, prayers and thanks.
This event also offered an educational opportunity for the younger men who were present as they were able to observe how a powwow is coordinated. Bondese Frank was arena director, Reddmen Le-Mieux and Galen Gutierrez-Daniels were masters of ceremony with Jordan Keeble helping them along. The young men really stepped up in running a successful powwow and really did learn a great deal about how they are conducted.
FCP elder Hazel George offered the invocation: “I give many thanks for everyone who is here and many thanks to all who keep our community strong and working together. I pray that we overcome our problems here in this community – especially the drugs – and hope that we can come together as one to beat it. It’s great seeing everyone here tonight and it makes me proud. I hope we continue to come together like we are here tonight. Migwetch!”
FCP Veterans Post 1 was present to bring in the colors: JR Holmes, U.S. Army; Clarence Daniels, U.S. Army; Ardin Mielke, U.S. Army/Navy; Brian Franz, U.S. Army; and Ron Le-Mieux, U.S. Marine Corps. Head dancers were Richard Gougé and Penelope Peters. There was also royalty joining the activities for the evening including Allisia Cisneros-Tuckwab and Symone Pemma.
Drums present were Fire Nation, Young Warriors, Swamp Creek and Wolf River, Tomahawk Circle. These men and young men kept the beat of the night and did a great job. At the end of the powwow, all drums came together in one single circle to sing the traveling song. This is something one doesn’t usually see, but it was a nice touch showing the camaraderie of the people all being together as one people and nation.
Dances included a double heat, woodland, crow hop, straight and sneak up. Dancers present really did dance hard through the evening with some going the entire three hours non-stop.
Throughout the night community members even took up the microphone to talk about their good feelings and some told a few jokes along the way. It really was a fun and relaxing time to just sit back and enjoy some good drumming while watching the dancers and enjoying everyone’s company.