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June 4, 2024

SOARRING 2024 Standing Bear Markets -6/29, 7/27, 8/31, 9/28


Midwest SOARRING Foundation is pleased to announce our 2024 Standing Bear Markets the last Saturday of the month starting June 29, 2024. Additional dates include July 27, August 31, and September 28th. The market will take place from 10am to 4pm in the parking lot adjacent to the I & M Canal next to the Lockport Historic Train Station, 133 West 13th Street, Lockport, IL 60441.

The Standing Bear Market will feature vendors selling handmade items, food, farm produce and other intriguing Native themed goods.

  • Free admission.
  • Plenty of free parking.
  • Stroll the beautiful I & M canal and explore the Lockport downtown eating establishments.
  • Springview Bakery will have delicious bakery items for sale at the market.
  • Visit the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Cultural Center gift shop.

The Standing Bear Market takes place rain or shine.

Additional vendors are encouraged to apply. Email amy.byrne@midwestsoarring.org for information.

April 1, 2024

Midwest SOARRING 2024 Plans

Harvest Pow Wow

Harvest Pow Wow

SOARRING again held a very successful annual Harvest Pow Wow the second weekend of October 2023 at the DuPage County Fairgrounds. There were over two thousand people that attended who listened and watched three Native American drum groups and many dancers in fine regalia. Outside the arena was filled with many vendors selling Native themed crafts.  Building two offered a stage to show films and featured Native storytelling and music as well as a large dining area. Additional vendor booths took up the remaining space which included a Birds of Prey live exhibit given by KARE.  Outside participants had the opportunity to purchase food from several different food trucks.

A group of foreign exchange high school students from many different countries enjoyed interacting with the Native American dancers and having their pictures taken at the Pow Wow. SOARRING is very proud to have given out over 50 scholarships to deserving students over the years. At this year’s Harvest Pow Wow SOARRING awarded seven scholarships, a record number.

SOARRING is now planning for the 2024 Harvest Pow with an additional new Pow Wow and Event committee. The excitement is running high for a busy year. We just learned that Marc LaRoque has announced his retirement. Marc has been SOARRING’s Harvest Pow Wow arena director for many years and has also been a key leader in California Manpower. His work helped employ Native people over a wide geographical area. Joseph expresses his deep gratitude to Marc for all the help and hard work he has given to everyone.

Runyon Preserve Cleanup

Runyon Preserve Cleanup

On March 17, 2024 SOARRING  held a Spring Equinox Ceremony at the McKee House located in Churchhill Woods Forest Preserve in Glen Ellyn, Il. It was well attended event. Joseph Standing Bear led the prayers and everyone was in good spirits. A generous donor will be giving money for a new roof for the McKee House. Work will begin shortly. A new roof is the first step of the rehabilitation of the building. SOARRING plans a number of cosmetic and maintenance upgrades to the McKee House property over time. A recent SOARRING clean up of Ruyon Woods Forest Preserve in Lockport was also conducted by SOARRING volunteers.

SOARRING is excited to resume a Women’s Circle, which was put on hold during the COVID years. The Women’s Circle will meet the first Saturday of each month starting April 6 at 2pm at the Heritage Village Medicine Wheel Garden located at 249 W 2nd St, Lockport, IL 60441. The circle takes place rain or shine. Bring along your drum, rattle, or flute as we come together to honor our ancestral traditions and foster a sense of community in a sacred place.

Plans are in the works to host the showing of Native film(s) in the western suburbs and resume the Standing Bear Flea Market in the summertime.

For those that are interested in helping with the Harvest Pow Wow planning, we encourage you to attend our Harvest Pow Wow committee meeting.We look forward to working together.

In high regards,

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz

February 14, 2022

SOARRING Standing Bear Flea & Craft Markets

SOARRING invites everyone to attend our Standing Bear Markets Craft and Flea Markets, the last Saturday of the month, May through October 2022, set in the rustic, historic town of Lockport, IL. The market hours are 10am to 4pm. The market location is the parking lot adjacent to 171 Archer Road near the Lockport Historic Train Station at 133 West 13th Street, Lockport, IL, adjacent to the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Native American Cultural Center.

Admission is free. No pets allowed.  No drugs, alcohol or weapons. Markets take place rain or shine. Plenty of free parking.

Enjoy the scenery of the beautiful I & M Canal. After the market take in a meal at one of Lockport’s eating establishments.

Interested vendors can download the application and market rules form. The cost is $35 . Vendor setup hours are 8am to 10am. Tents are permitted with weights to hold them down. No stakes pounded into pavement. No electrical provided. Questions? Call 773.585.8613


January 2, 2021

SOARRING 2021 New Year’s Greeting

I would like to start by wishing Midwest SOARRING Foundation members, friends, and supporters a very happy New Year. I wish each of you a happy and healthy 2021 during these trying times.

We have witnessed in our world and in this country many challenges during this past year including every shortage–from toilet paper to common sense.  I was raised to believe that all life matters–all the winged ones above us, all that swims and floats in the great waters, and all that walks, crawls and burrows upon and within the earth. All life matters—not just one particular color or one type of life.

What I have been witnessing during this time are valuable life lessons. In many cases some have spent extra time with loved ones which have strengthened family values and the family unit. Sadly, others have experienced increased stress which has led to domestic violence, depression, and suicide.  We hope and pray that a positive solution is on the horizon for COVID.

Lake Superior Winter

Lake Superior Winter

We have learned to depend on outside sources without a guaranteed right of supply for ourselves or our family. The situation we find ourselves in presents an opportunity to remember and restore some of our old lifestyles. I am overjoyed to see many returning to basic values, working with the land and with water. Across the country many are planting gardens and learning how to can their own produce. This is one way we can lessen our dependence on technology for our happiness and survival.

In 2021 Midwest SOARRING Foundation will be embarking on many new and fascinating ZOOM programs/events, depending on the course of COVID.  Zoom talks offer us the opportunity to access wisdom from teachers who care deeply for Mother Earth from other parts of the country. Please check our calendar page on our website to register for these programs.

We pray for all of those who have been affected by COVID. We pray for those who have passed on. We pray for their families and loved ones as they recover from their loss.

In reflecting on 2020, it reminds me of the story of a grandfather and his grandson who were walking in the deep woods. They spoke of many things, as they passed both new and old sites along their walk. The young boy had many questions. After a while they both sat down on large rocks to rest. The grandfather noticed the boy was deep in thought.

He asked the boy, “What’s troubling you?”
“Grandfather, there seems to be so much good and evil in the world. “said the boy.
“Yes, there is a struggle in each of us between good and evil,” said the grandfather.
“Well, which one wins?” asked his grandson.
“Whichever one you feed” said his grandfather.

Midwest SOARRING Foundation will be hosting many events and invite you to participate as you are able.  We invite you to join our organization, or if you are already a member, please renew your membership for 2021.

I personally give many thanks to my board members and all those who assist us in our mission.

High regards,

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz

December 5, 2019

SOARRING Fall 2019 News

2019 Harvest Pow Wow

Aztec dancers Ocelotl-Cihuacoati

The weekend of September 21 and 22, 2019 marked the 25th year that Midwest SOARRING’s annual Harvest Pow Wow has been offered to the public as a celebration of Native American culture. For the last fifteen years, the Harvest Pow Wow has been held in the western suburbs of Chicago.  At the event opening Saturday, Janet Standing Bear (who passed away in November 2018) was honored with a tribute by the Aztec dancers Ocelotl-Cihuacoati. Janet served as Vice President of Operations for Midwest SOARRING for many years. She was well known for her dedication to the foundation activities, to the organization’s mission, and respected for her desire to help all people.  Her spirit will live on in the hearts of all who knew her.  A special button was designed in her honor and passed out to many at the pow wow.  On Sunday, Joseph Standing Bear awarded three Janet Standing Bear scholarships (instead of the usual one) to three students pursuing their studies, commemorating her contribution to the native community.  


Jaime Black Red Dress Project

Other pow wow highlights included a performance and talk by Laura Grizzlypaws, the only female Grizzlybear dancer in North America, and a special red dress procession led by Canadian artist Jaime Black. Jaime Black is known for her Red Dress Project which was featured as an outdoor installation at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.  At the Harvest Pow Wow Jaime led a procession of dancers wearing or carrying red dresses symbolic of the missing and murdered indigenous women and children across North America. The dancers circled the arena once and exited the back gate, walking on the sidewalk of Aurora Ave, and re-entered the Naper Settlement entrance before proceeding back into the arena.  There the dancers acknowledged each other in their unity on this issue.  Both participants and pow wow attendees were emotionally moved by the heightened awareness of this topic. The purpose of the procession was to greater awareness to the general public.  Jaime Black has been one of the primary artists in North America to highlight these concerns.  

Despite the early closure on Sunday due to heavy rain, SOARRING was able to get most of the featured pow wow events completed. The turnout was amazingly good despite the weather. A special effort was made at the entry gates to learn where attendees came from, and the geographic diversity was impressive.

Film Showing: What Was Ours & Standing Rock Slide Presentation

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, on November 16, 2019 the Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet and Midwest SOARRING Foundation collaborated to show the documentary film What Was Ours along with a short slideshow of SOARRING’s trip to Standing Rock, North Dakota. What Was Ours is a film that touches on the lives of three individuals from the Wind River Indian Reservation and their journey to The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. They each take this trip with hopes to bring home artifacts stored within the walls of the museum.

“Arapaho and Shoshone people have always wanted a museum on the reservation. When people hear that we ask to borrow our artifacts, they wonder why we have to ask. They’re ours.”

Standing Rock, North Dakota

— Jordan Dresser, Northern Arapaho Tribal Member

At the conclusion of the movie, Joseph Standing Bear described SOARRING’s trip to Standing Rock, North Dakota to deliver winter supplies and a heavy duty canvas tent complete with a wood burning stove.  Most people in the audience were unaware of the harsh treatment directed at the both Native Americans and their supporters at this historic event.  Joseph finished with a discussion on Native issues and their impacts on the indigenous community.

Annual 1,000 Tree Seed Planting Riverside Illinois

For the last number years SOARRING member and Riverside resident Tom Sisulak has held a 1,000 tree seed planting in Riverside, Illinois. This year the event was held at the Scout Cabin next to the Des Plaines River on November  23, 2019. Over eighty people were in attendance from a variety of different backgrounds.  Due to the large turnout over 3,000 seeds were planted this year, bringing the total planted to over 16,200 hardwood tree seeds of 25 different species in the last thirteen years.

Tom Sisulak began the program talking about the variety of seeds he had hand collected during the year. In so doing he ensures each seed is viable to produce a healthy tree.  Next, Joseph Standing Bear discussed the importance of the environment for all life on earth.  The Riverside tree arborist gave an overview of the Village of Riverside tree conservation plan and noted that Riverside is well noted for the variety of trees within the township.  Afterwards everyone gathered by the fireplace to share stories about the day’s effort.  The potluck was plentiful and delicious.  All are looking forward to repeating the tree seed planting next fall.

Interfaith Service

Joseph Standing Bear became a member of the Interfaith Committee in Lockport, IL, this fall motivated by his desire to create a better world for all people. This year an historic interfaith service was held on Nov.24, 2019 at the St. Denis Catholic Church.  Over six faith representatives were present.  Each spoke and led a prayer from their respective traditions, each echoing the sentiment that we must have respect for one another in order to create better understanding and develop a more harmonious world.  Near the end of the service, Joseph Standing Bear invited all to stand and form a circle within the church.  He led a Native American seven direction prayer, which was unknown to many.  In the days following the interfaith service, many positive testimonials about the benefits of the event continue to be received. Thus the powerful interfaith interaction continues and future events will likely occur.


Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, Members Meeting and Holiday Party

Medicine Wheel Ornament on SOARRING Christmas Tree

Every holiday season Midwest SOARRING Foundation hosts a volunteer appreciation dinner, holiday party and annual members meeting at the Pilcher Nature Center in Joliet. This year the event is scheduled for December 14, 2019. The nature center is a perfect wooded setting to enjoy fellowship and community over a delicious meal. Activities include a candlelit walk through the forest, and sharing stories while the Christmas tree is decorated with participants handmade ornaments. The event is free and open to all current SOARRING members. Memberships may be renewed at the event.  For further details see the calendar.

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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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