Pokagon Band preps for annual Pow WowPublished 5:13pm Monday, August 20, 2012
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians has invited the public to join the festivities Sept. 1-2, during its 27th annual Kee-Boon–Mein-Kaa Pow Wow, which will feature dancing, drumming and traditional culture.
The Potawatomi phrase “kee-boon-mein-kaa” refers to the tradition celbration of huckleberry harvest. Cultural dancers and drummers take to the pow wow arena to display traditional, contemporary and Great Lakes old-style dance categories, which showcases regalia reflecting traditional Potawatomi and Great Lakes styles and designs not usually seen on the pow wow trail. The competitions also offer prize money.
“This year’s pow wow will be tried and true; it will reflect all of the pieces we’ve incorporated in the past,” Paige Risser, director of communications for the Band, said Monday. “It’s a great way for visitors to learn, watch, shop and eat.”
Vendors will 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 basket-making, copper work and the native Potawatomi language.
While many festivities will take place during the weekend, Friday will kick off the pow wow with a group of Pokagon Band women participating in the fourth annual
Women’s Water Walk. 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.
A highlight of the weekend, Risser said, includes the grand entries of dancers and drummers, which take place at 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday, as well as noon on Sunday.
“It’s a really stirring moment,” Risser said. “They are a highlight of the pow wow, with the head staff and veteran leading them into the arena. It’s a place where everyone comes together.”
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Kee-Boon-Mein-Kaa Pow Wow opens the gates at 10 a.m. Saturday. Admission is free. The Pokagon Band’s pow wow arena is located on its Rodgers Lake campus at 58620 Sink Rd., Dowagiac. For more information, visit www.pokagonpowwow.com.