Midwest SOARRING Foundation (MSF) Logo

January 12, 2014


The later half of 2013 proved to be a full and productive year for Midwest SOARRING Foundation.  The calendar of monthly events included  beading workshops, Fireside Talks, a first Tiospaye Honor Ceremony, and monthly Women’s Group meetings, Fall Equinox and Winter Soltice observances, in addition to the annual Harvest Pow Wow held in September.


Midwest SOARRING Foundation hosted the first Fireside Talk, given by Cindy Hicks-Orth, Director and Founder of Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation on July 27, 2014 at the Westchester Public Library. Hicks-Orth presented on “Together In The Spirit” and covered the history and current day affairs on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations in South Dakota, two of the three most poverty stricken counties in the country.  Hicks is of Shawnee ancestry and spends much of her summers planning and organizing her foundation’s annual Give Away for the Ogalala Lakota and Rosebud Sicangu Reservations in South Dakota.

Director of Giving Back To Wounded Knee

President/Founder of Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Cindy Hicks-Orth

As an activist for Native American issues, Hicks speaks on issues current and relevant to the people she serves, and those issues of historical value that may not be so familiar with “outsiders.”   Hicks brought with her a large display gallery of Native American artifacts and books for the public to peruse. She was grateful to receive a truckload of donations from Midwest SOARRING Foundation members for her annual fall GiveAway.

Dave Nordin presented the second Fireside Talk on October 19, 2013 at the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Cultural Center. Nordin holds a BA in Modern European History in addition to his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law. He spoke on the “Similiaries and Interaction Between the Native Nations and the Colony of New Sweden.”  His fascinating talk introduced awareness of an immigrant group whose behavior did not fit the more common pattern of exploitation, deception, and violence in North America.


In early October Midwest SOARRING joined a rally in support of Racine Mounds, a cemetary where Indian burial mounds are located. Initially the funeral home sought to buy a piece of cemetery where Indian remains were located, yet, upon consultation with the Ho-Chunk Nation, backed out of the deal.


On October 12, 2013 Midwest SOARRING Foundation held its first annual Tiospaye Honor Ceremony to honor family and friends who have passed on. A potluck dinner was held after the ceremony to encourage sharing and sense of community among participants.

Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel


This year the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Women’s Group has met monthly (fourth Friday of every month) at 7pm at the Cultural Center. The well attended event encourages women gathering to share their life cultural experiences and build camaraderie with one another. November included a pipe ceremony with Joseph Standing Bear Schranz.


The Annual Members Meeting was held on November 16, 2013. Board members were elected for the coming year, and Joseph Standing Bear Schranz gave a review of the struggles, successes, and celebrations of the organization since last October. He also provided an overview of future plans and aspirations which included initiating Phase II of the Recreated Native Village. Members enjoyed a tasty potluck dinner during the meeting.

A month later, holiday festivities were celebrated at the annual MSF Members and Volunteer Holiday Party at the Pilcher Park Nature Center in Joliet. A candlelight walk preceded the dinner and fellowship. Afterwards the annual tradition of sharing a handmade ornament for the Spirit tree occurred. This is a time of heartfelt sharing in community, giving thanks for the learnings, goodness and blessings bestowed on members lives during the past year. Members brought gifts of winter hats, mittens, non-perishable food items, household goods, or a new toys for those in need living on reservations.


Midwest SOARRING is happy to report that many saplings have been cut in preparation for the Longhouse building which will begin this spring on the Cultural Center grounds. Comcast Cares will return to assist with the preparation and planting of the Midwest SOARRING garden in May. A meeting has been scheduled in January to plan the garden.

May 8, 2013

Phase I – SOARRING Native American Village

On Saturday, May 4, Midwest SOARRING Foundation organized another work day on the grounds of the Native American Center. More work days are scheduled, as the organization prepares for the construction of the Native American longhouse. On April 27, 2013 a combined force of forty-three volunteers- – including Comcast employees and Midwest SOARRING Foundation members– finished phase I of the grounds preparation for the Native American village concept.

Volunteer Work day at MSF Culutural Center

Volunteer work day for Native American village grounds clean up.

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, Founder and President of Midwest SOARRING Foundation, was elated with the success and generosity of Comcast. In addition to their time and committed work effort for Comcast Cares Day, Comcast donated volunteer t-shirts, breakfast, lunch, juice, water, soft drinks, trash bags, work gloves, dirt and grass seed.

The day began with a traditional Native American blessing for our Mother Earth and for all who attended. The volunteer efforts included

  • moving of a very large hardwood mulch pile to the village area,
  • transporting cinder blocks and other materials away from the work area,
  • filling in several large holes from trees that had fallen,
  • and cleanup of the parking area, five acres of land, and gardens surrounding the cultural center.

Midwest SOARRING Foundation was honored to have Sharisse Sheridan of Comcast light the village fire for the day.  The foundation was also privileged to host a raffle for all of the volunteers who participated.  Schranz said,

“I am happy that we have formed this relationship between Comcast and Midwest SOARRING Foundation in our efforts to promote awareness of Native American culture. We all need to work together to protect and conserve our environment, for now and for future generations.”

On Saturday, May 4, MSF had another work day on the grounds of our Native American Center. More work days are scheduled, as we prepare for the construction of our longhouse.

Future Work Days

Additional MAY work days are as follows:

  • Sat. May 11th, 10am-2pm
  • Thurs. May 16th, 10am-2pm
  • Sat. May 18th, 10am-2pm
  • Thurs. May 23 10am-2pm

For further information call (773) 585-8613.



April 12, 2013

SOARRING Native American Village Progress

Brothers Keeper Club Contribution

Surveying the progress of the recently cleared grounds for the MSF Native American village, Joseph Standing Bear Schranz expressed his deep appreciation to Ray Piagentini and the Brothers Keeper Club of the Barrington Community High School.

Old cabin debris on MSF Cultural Center grounds

Old cabin debris on MSF Cultural Center grounds

Last year the club began the first efforts to dismantle the old cabin which once stood on the grounds where the Native American village will be built. The group also returned several times to split logs from the trees that had fallen on the cabin.

Schranz is also proud of 25 sturdy benches built by a SOARRING member with the redwood planks from the dismantled cabin. These moveable recycled benches will be used for school groups and visitors who gather around the fire pit in the village.

Eagle Scout Project

Midwest SOARRING Foundation is also indebted to Chris Zurowski, his family, Boy Scout Troop 216, and other volunteers for their dedicated hard work to clear the caved in cabin, wood shed, and considerable debris last fall. Over a year ago Chris had inquired about the possibility of an Eagle Scout project at the MSF Cultural Center. He had met with Joseph Standing Bear Schranz to survey the land and determine a plan. “His sustained interest in the project resulted in very meaningful, long term results,” said Joseph Standing Bear Schranz.

Chris and his family raised $1,700 for hardwood mulch which was spread over the grounds in a layer of 4” deep. Chris also donated landscaping stones from his yard for the fire pit circle. In the foundations’ estimation Chris exceeded his own

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz surveying Native American village grounds.

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz surveying Native American village grounds.

expectations, as well as the organizations. In appreciation for his efforts, and the combined work of Troop 216, Midwest SOARRING Foundation designed a plaque which was awarded to this future Eagle Scout on March 23, 2013. Chris was also given the honor of starting the first fire in the opening of the fire pit ceremony at the Midwest SOARRING Cultural Center. His Eagle Scout badge will be awarded in the near future.

Comcast Employee Involvement on Volunteer Work Day – April 27, 2013

A volunteer work day has been scheduled for April 27, 2013 to complete phase 1 of the grounds improvement. Founder/director Joseph Standing Bear Schranz is excited about the participation of 50 Comcast employees who will finish preparing the mulch area of the Native village charrette. He encourages all who plan to volunteer to bring Wheel barrows, shovels, and rakes as they are needed to spread the remaining mulch, pick up debris, and expand the outdoor patio near the cook hut. Comcast has graciously offered to provide a lunch and t-shirt to anyone else who volunteers by April 21, 2013. Call Janet at 708-257-4300 to reserve your spot.


Phase II Plans

Illustration by Sue Van Horn

Illustration by Sue Van Horn

Under consideration are plans regarding the size and materials that will be used to erect the Long House in May. The structure, along with the tipi and authentic Woodland Indian hunting lodge will become a destination site for school groups, scouting troops, and the public interested in learning about Native American culture. There is much excitement and interest by all involved. Stay tuned for further progress reports.


December 7, 2012

Eagle Scout Project Assists SOARRING

On the grounds of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Cultural Center a work shed and cabin built in the early 1940’s had fallen into disrepair.

Original 1940s cabin on MSF Cultural Center grounds

In 1946 the original property owners saved enough money to build the house which now serves as the headquarters for Midwest SOARRING Foundation.

Meanwhile, the shed and cabin eventually caved in from fallen tree limbs and disuse over the years.

In the spring of 2012 Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, President and Founder of Midwest SOARRING Foundation, had a vision to create an authentic Native village on the site. In order to do this the debris had to be removed and the ground mulched. Over a series of three weekends in October 2012,  Boy Scout Troop 216 and Midwest SOARRING Foundation volunteers worked tirelessly to clear the area, mulch the ground, and build a large fire pit.

A ten yard dumpster was filled with refuse from the site several times, while a large truck hauled away scrap metal. A landscaper friend of the organization donated the use of his bobcat for an afternoon so that the ground could be smoothed and graded. Five yards of topsoil was added. This was followed by a thorough pickup of glass and debris.

Zurowski Family

Chris Zurowski from Troop 216 raised $1,080 to purchase oak mulch which was delivered by a forty foot semi truck. On the third Sunday in October, a massive effort by Troop 216 and Midwest SOARRING Foundation volunteers involved carting and spreading many, many, wheelbarrows of mulch on the site. This was followed by the building of a large community fire pit.

Midwest SOARRING Foundation has offered to host Chris Zurowski’s Eagle Scout ceremony on the grounds, depending on the weather and time of year.

“I would personally like to thank Chris Zurowski, his parents and family, Troop 216 and all the volunteers for their hard work and persistence on this huge project.”

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz
President & Founder
Midwest SOARRING Foundation

Long Awaited Native Village Plans Begun

Wigwam and Tipi

Woodland Indian hunting lodge and MSF tipi

In September 2012, Midwest SOARRING Foundation members gathered to discuss plans for the Native American village charette. With the completion of the Eagle Scout project in October there will be a suitable place to build the village on the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Cultural Center grounds.  A tentative plan has been formulated to include a tipi, wigwam, Pawnee Earth Lodge, and other Native structures such as two long houses for men and women.

Raising the money to buy the materials to fund the project is next on the agenda. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause please
make an online donation.
The organization also has plans to enlarge the patio and build a cook shack which will include a cook shelter with tables.
As the project continues Midwest SOARRING Foundation members will add native plantings of hazelnut bushes. A plan is underway to plant a sacred garden of tobacco, sage, and sweetgrass in addition to a three sisters garden consisting of corn, beans, and squash.

Other ideas include offering bee keeping, mushroom growing, and raising chickens for egg gathering. Work on the site will resume in the spring of 2013.

Stay tuned for more news and updates on this exciting project.

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Aanii Boozhoo

Midwest SOARRING Foundation invites all people to gather into an ever-increasing wider circle that preserves Mother Earth, and the rich traditions of the ancestors. We invite you to learn about the many intertribal Native American lifeways that provide wisdom and direction in our contemporary world. In keeping with this path, Midwest SOARRING Foundation works to maintain the traditions of the ancestors and to conserve and restore to health the natural environment.

We invite you to join our circle. Dance at our pow wows. Attend our cultural events and support the bison herd-our nation's greatest herbivore and symbol of hope and survival for all people. As you listen, you will learn. Together we become the Spirit of the ancestors.

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz

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