A crisp autumn weekend greeted over 6,000 participants at the 19th Annual Harvest Pow Wow which took place Sept. 21 & 22, 2013 at the Naper Settlement, Naperville, IL. As an intertribal event, the pow wow welcomed Native American dancers and vendors from across the country. This annual gathering allows the greater Chicago metro residents to experience Native American culture in a way not possible through other media sources. The city of Naperville provided partial funding with a SECA grant for the event.
The family friendly event had something for everyone. Participants savored the beautiful autumn weather.
With over thirty vendors selling Native American arts and crafts, there was plenty of opportunity to shop for authentic clothing, jewelry, music, foods, and herbal remedies. Children’s crafts included activities such as sand painting, beading, weaving, and flintknapping (arrowhead making.) S.O.A.R. (Save Our American Raptors) exclusive to Midwest SOARRING Foundation pow wows, brought Deshka, the American Bald Eagle and other birds of prey for display. A popular exhibit allowed the public to view and take close-up photos of owls and hawks, and learn about their care.
Many families were fascinated by the authentic Elmbark wigwam recreated by an expert craftsman. He had carefully studied drawings and written descriptions of Woodland Indians native to the Midwest. Built as a hunting lodge, the wigwam was complete with beds made of stinging nettle cords, hides, and cornhusk mattresses.
In the main arena, Native American dancers stepped in time with the drumbeat in colorful regalia specific to their chosen dance style. Thorpe and Nicole Sine, as head male and lady dancers, entertained the audience with their award winning style of dance.
The Native American drum is sacred and is viewed as the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The head drum for the Harvest Pow Wow was the Milwaukee Bucks. Two other invited drum groups from Wisconsin, Little Thunder and Sawanohsaeh Singers provided the rhythm and singing for the weekend.
The Little Bear Hoop Dancers from the Menominee Tribal School in Wisconsin demonstrated intricate dance steps with a series of hoops. Of special importance was the veteran honoring ceremony held at conclusion of each Grand Entry during the weekend. Selected veterans at each session were given the Warrior Medal of Valor.
An honor blanket was given Saturday to Herman Logan, and on Sunday to Hayna Sine for their outstanding contributions to the Native American community.
Saturday evening, special guest artist and two time Grammy award winner, Robert Mirabal from Taos Pueblo, sang, played Native flute, and told stories of his people. Mirabal was sponsored by Closet Works, a Chicago area custom closet retail store. A special VIP reception was held earlier in the day where ticket holders had the opportunity to meet and greet the Native American celebrity and have their picture taken with him. Participants also had the opportunity to hear him play and answer questions in a more intimate setting.
Sunday morning the Aztec dancers blessed the crowd by burning sacred herbs, drumming, and synchronized dance steps. All wore traditional Aztec regalia. The 19th annual pow wow came to a festive close, with plans already in the works for next year’s 2oth celebration, to be held September 20 & 21, 2014. Visit us again soon for more details on next year’s 20th Harvest Pow Wow celebration.