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February 14, 2022

SOARRING Standing Bear Flea & Craft Markets May-October 2022

SOARRING invites everyone to attend our Standing Bear Markets Craft and Flea Markets, the last Saturday of the month, May through October 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.

August 12, 2019

SOARRING Summer 2019 News

The spring has been a flurry of activity as Midwest SOARRING Foundation prepares for it’s 25th Annual Harvest Pow Wow, September 21 & 22nd, 2019 at the Naper Settlement in Naperville, IL.  Early May ushered in the annual Comcast Cares Volunteer Work Day in which Comcast employees worked alongside SOARRING members to clean up and beautify the Heritage Village, Historic Lockport Train Station (where the Midwest SOARRING Cultural Center is housed), and a section of the I & M Canal.  As always it was a positive and community building event.

Other SOARRING activities included a Spring Equinox and Summer Soltice celebration, and a pipe ceremony for the well-being of our members and the general public. Plans for a monarch butterfly garden next to the Midwest SOARRING Cultural Center are planned for the fall.

25th Annual Harvest Pow Wow – September 21 & 22, 2019

In late September the 25th anniversary of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Harvest Pow Wow will be celebrated. All our welcome at our popular, family friendly event to experience a weekend of Native American culture, complete with dancing and drumming. This year is particularly special to us. We invite everyone to help Midwest SOARRING Foundation celebrate 25 years of achievement sharing Native American environmental and cultural concerns. During these 25 years we have hosted over fifty pow wows which educate everyone about our rich Native heritage, many who may not have known about America’s First People any other way.

Through our annual Harvest Pow Wow, which has become one of the largest in Illinois, we have united many different communities and tribes over common issues. All Native Americans have been taught how to protect and conserve Mother Earth, and to have respect and reverence for all life. Our pow wows have provided an opportunity for new artists and their work, and a platform for environmental and cultural issues. During this quarter of a century, Midwest SOARRING Foundation has saved over 2,000 acres of Illinois sacred sites. We have become a beacon for what can be achieved with good hearts and spirits.

The Harvest Pow Wow includes Native American dancing and drumming, arts and crafts and food vendors along with children’s activities, and much more. Download the flyer and schedule.

In honor of our 25th anniversary we have invited Grizzlypaws from British Columbia to perform the sacred Bear Dance. Grizzlypaws is the only female Grizzlybear dancer in North America and is breathtaking to watch.  Our other special guests include Jaime Black with The Red Dress Project, and Art Schegonnee with Opening Prayers.  We encourage everyone to bring your friends, neighbors and family. Feel free to bring lawn chairs.

Learn more about the Harvest Pow Wow at www.harvestpowwow.com

Purchase discounted tickets online until September 15, 2019.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

December 9, 2018

Midwest SOARRING Foundation 2018 News

It was a busy and productive year for Midwest SOARRING Foundation. Many events were held throughout the year for Lockport, IL.,  area youth including a summer camp with the Lockport Park District, and several educational events for area seniors, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts. Since the Midwest SOARRING Native American Cultural Center is open twice a week during the year (as well as by appointment, some Saturdays, and for special events),  stimulating educational public tours are available. Visitors can peruse several cultural and historic exhibits, and have the opportunity to shop our unique gift shop. Custom tours for your group can always be arranged by calling 708.257.4300.

MSF Native American Cultural Center, Lockport, IL.

SOARRING Talking Circles

In 2018 SOARRING rekindled a long standing tradition by offering several monthly talking circles. These are always well attended. Talking circles provide an opportunity for individuals to connect with our community over many issues of daily life as well share their spiritual concerns. For those who have not participated in a talking circle we encourage you to get involved.  No politics are discussed. Everyone has an opportunity to talk and be heard.

Following each circle there is ample opportunity for fellowship, as we enjoy a feast.  We have a tradition of each member bringing a dish to share with others.  While we do not have an oven, crock pots, casseroles, salads, and desserts are welcome.  Please bring enough to share with others. This is also a time to share each other’s favorite recipes.  Check our calendar for upcoming monthly talking circles.

Comcast Cares Volunteer Work Day– April 21, 2018

For the sixth year in a row, Comcast employees generously donated their time and energy to work along side Midwest SOARRING members and volunteers in the Heritage Village, IM Waterway Canal, and the Lockport Historic Train Station where the Midwest SOARRING Cultural Center is located.  Attendance at the event included over fifty volunteers,  which was a record for SOARRING.

Comcast Cares Employee and Joseph Standing Bear

Some worked to clean the IM Waterway Canal picking up trash. Others spruced up the building interiors and cleared invasive weeds in the Heritage Pioneer Village. Another crew planted and mulched the SOARRING medicine garden.  Many Comcast employees and SOARRING members weeded and mulched the entire historic Lockport train station area and planted additional flowers where the Midwest SOARRING Cultural Center is located.  The City of Lockport received a $60,000 grant to beautify the historic Lockport station, which included plantings of a variety of perennial flowers and placement of limestone boulders adjacent to the station.  The results were impressive.

Midwest SOARRING Foundation 24th Annual Harvest Pow Wow

The 24th Annual Harvest Pow Wow held at the Naper Settlement in downtown Naperville,  on September 22 and 23rd. It was SOARRING’s  largest pow wow which offered  the most varied experiences to date of Native Culture.  Activities and offerings encompassed supervised archery with target for everyone, our most popular children’s corner, a special canoe exhibit with authentic scaled down birch bark canoe models, a live horse and birds of prey exhibit that included the Deska, The American Bald Eagle, hawks and owls.  The event hosted over 40 vendors with the largest assortment of food vendors;  the most SOARRING has hosted at our pow wows.  Award winning Al Jewer played native flute while Mark Cleveland performed and sang with his guitar.  The Aztec dancers, Ocelotll-Cihuacoatl initiated a sacred ceremony with dance and drum. In the evening, acclaimed guest musicians, Hugo Gutierrez and Wayco entertained the audience with riveting music from the Andes, complete with guitar, charango, percussion, wind instruments and vocals. At each the Grand Opening, Midwest SOARRING honored many veterans with valor medals for their service to our country.  The 2018 Janet Sevilla Scholarship was awarded to a young nursing student from the White Earth Reservation in MN. And, Midwest SOARRING unveiled its colorful new tipi. It was a popular location for everyone to take selfies and photos.

We were blessed with exceptional weather the entire weekend. Everyone that attended was smiling and enjoying every aspect the Harvest Pow Wow had to offer.  An annual crowd favorite is the colorful dancing and drumming in the arena.  Our announcer educated the public about Native American concerns regarding water, and spoke about the value of horses to Indigenous culture.

Our entire organization is deeply indebted to Janet Sevilla, Vice President of Midwest SOARRING, who through her dedication and devotion to SOARRING made this 24th Harvest Pow Wow , along with the help of many volunteers, our most successful to date.

Ron Kanutski Social Drum Circle & Traditional Teachings

In late October, cultural educator Ron Kanuski, tribal member of the Lake Helen Reserve/Red Rock Band (Obijiwanong), traveled to Chicago area from Canada to sing, drum and share traditional teachings from the Ashinabe Native culture.   He spoke and sang from his heart. Everyone enjoyed hearing his life experiences. Ron brought with him a knowledgeable guest from Thunder Bay. Over the two days attendees had an opportunity to ask questions and relate informally to Ron and his guest.

SOARRING Holiday Markets

On two Saturdays in December, Dec. 1st and Dec. 15th, two holiday markets were hosted at the SOARRING Cultural Center in Lockport, Il. These holiday markets feature Native themed vendors who give shoppers an opportunity to purchase unique Christmas presents for loved ones. It is also an informal time to visit the center and share a cup of hot chocolate with SOARRING members.

Ojibwey Birchbark Baskets

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner & Annual Holiday Party and Members Meeting

Saturday, December 8th, 2018,  Joseph Standing Bear Schrantz welcomed everyone to the holiday celebration and annual members meeting. He summarized the 2018 SOARRING events and the exciting plans for 2019. The festivities began with our customary candlelit spirit walk in the woods followed by a delicious feast. Traditionally members bring homemade side dishes to share. It has also been a long standing tradition for each member to craft an ornament to place on our Christmas tree while telling a story of what ornament means in their life. This sharing includes a wide range of emotions—from sadness to happiness. This tree stays decorated until the end of the season as a visual and cultural gift to the Pilcher Nature Center in Joliet, IL. Holiday gifts were also brought to share with those in need.  Our raffle winner spontaneously donated their prize money back to Midwest SOARRING Foundation.

Call for Talented Volunteers for 2019

If you have special gifts or abilities and would like to volunteer your energy and time, please call our director Joseph Standing Bear Schrantz at 708. 257.4300.

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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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