Midwest SOARRING Foundation (MSF) Logo

November 12, 2012

Save Starved Rock State Park

The Sierra Club, Midwest SOARRING Foundation, and other concerned citizens are opposed to the Mississippi Frac Sand Mine’s permit to mine near Starved Rock State Park. Starved Rock State Park, like the rest of Illinois State Parks, is a unique asset for all the people of Illinois.

Watch the video of Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, Founder of Midwest SOARRING Foundation, speak about the importance of saving Starved Rock State Park.

Starved Rock and nearby Matthiessen State Park are jewels in the state of Illinois. Only an hour and a half drive from Chicago, Starved Rock has unrivaled canyons and rare salt marshes that provide valuable habitat for plants and wildlife. Over two million visitors a year hike the miles of park trails and enjoy the serenity and peace of the canyons with their cascading waterfalls. These visitors bring tourism revenue to La Salle county businesses located nearby the park.

This will all change if the Mississippi Frac Sand Mine is allowed to operate just outside the park. The unique natural getaway La Salle County provides will be spoiled with a noisy, dusty mine adjacent to the park. Tourism will decline. The water flow surrounding the park and the rare salt marshes could easily be damaged, impacting the beautiful waterfalls in the canyons. Loud blasting from the mine will disturb wildlife and could fracture the surrounding soft sandstone cliffs and canyon walls to leading to increased rock falls. There is also the danger of nearby residents and workers inhaling silica dust from mining which overtime could lead to Silicosis, a non-reversible disease of the lungs.

We must protect Mother Earth and the treasures the Creator has given us. Native Americans teachings urge us to think about the next seven generations. Is this what we want to pass on to our children and next generations?

We urge you to write Governor Pat Quinn and the IDNR to express your opposition to the Mississippi Frac Sand Mine being allowed to mine adjacent to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois. View sample letter.

Contact Governor Pat Quinn:
Office of the Governor
The James R. Thompson Center
100 Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-814-2121

Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-0244
TTY: 888-261-3336

Contact Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Marc Miller, Director

One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702-1271

November 4, 2012

18th Annual Harvest Pow Wow

Crisp sunny fall skies greeted more than 6,000 participants on September 22 -23, 2012 for the 18th Annual Harvest Pow Wow. Organized by Midwest SOARRING Foundation and held at the Naper Settlement in downtown Naperville, IL, the event introduced the public to Native American dancing and drumming and indigenous culture.

Wigwam and Tipi

Woodland Indian hunting lodge and MSF tipi

Everyone in attendance had the opportunity to enjoy the festivities which included Native American arts, crafts, clothing, food offered by three vendors, music, and special birds of prey and wolf/dog exhibits. These included S.O.A.R. (Save Our American Raptors) and Wolf Mountain.

The pow wow featured guest was Chaske Spencer, a Native American actor who played the Werewolf Sam Uley in the Twilight movies. Chaske was available for a special VIP session, and the public had the opportunity to meet and greet him both days.

Of special cultural and historic interest was the authentic recreated Woodlands Indian hunting lodge wigwam built of elm bark, poles, and stinging nettle cord hand crafted by Don Clarke. The recreated dwelling is the only one of its kind in the state of Illinois, and will eventually be on display at the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Cultural Center.

Musicians included native Chicago singer and guitar player Mark Jordan, and award winning South Dakota Native flute player, Cody Blackbird.

On Saturday evening the Hana Hou Hawaiian dancers entertained the crowd with Hawaiian dancing and a fire dance. Sunday morning arrived with Aztec dancers wearing colorful headresses entering the arena to play a conch shell and large drum,  sharing their prayer dance and ceremony to benefit the people.

Four Native American drum groups from Wisconsin and Chicago provided drumming for dancers dressed in colorful regalia. The public gathered around the dance arena and often joined in or watched the proceedings from their seats. Children’s activities included flintknapping (making an arrowhead), fire building, and arts and crafts. Food vendors provided pow wow fare such as Indian Tacos, curly fries, sassafras tea, and popcorn.

Pow Wow Grand Entry with Veterans

Grand Entry

Veterans from all theaters were honored as they carried in flags into the arena during the Grand Entry both days. The Native American culture is one of the few cultures to honor the nation’s warriors. Over the weekend two red tailed hawks were spotted high in the trees overlooking the arena,  and were recognized by many to be a blessing from the Creator.

Midwest SOARRING Foundation would like to thank the city of Naperville for providing the SECA grant which makes this special event possible for our people.

November 2, 2012

Peace & Dignity Runners Ceremony at MSF Cultural Center

Every four years the Peace and Dignity Runners (who are either Native American or non-native runners appreciative of Native American culture) begin a run at opposite ends of the hemisphere and travel to a their final destination in Central America. The People of the Condor (Argentina), and The People of the Eagle (Alaska). travel these far distances for the purpose of uniting and healing indigenous people. The runners bring sacred staffs to as many Native American communities throughout North America as possible. They share prayers and blessings, spiritual traditions, and hold conversations about peace. Their final destination is Guatemala where the runners should meet in mid-November, and enjoy a huge celebration at one of the ancient Mayan cities.

On two separate weekends in August Midwest SOARRING Foundation was privileged to provide a venue for a group of these Peace & Dignity Journey runners.  A group of twenty runners from Canada, Puerto Rico, California, and New York arrived and participated in a ceremony with the sacred staffs they carried, offering prayers for peace while they were here. Afterwards all enjoyed a cookout with Midwest SOARRING Foundation members. The runners left heading west and south, eventually ending up in Texas by the end of September, before reaching their final destination in Central America, mid-November.

Midwest SOARRING member, Nina Gilhang who was present that evening said,

” I can’t remember all of their names, yet their spirits were so bright, and this memory will stay with me for life.”

Peace and Dignity Journeys have been organized every four years since 1992.  The 2012 event is dedicated to water, how it is used and misused, and the power it carries.


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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