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June 6, 2021

SOARRING Spring 2021 News

Pilcher Park Totem Pole, Joliet, Illinois

Earlier this winter a woman noticed the poor condition of the totem pole located outside the Pilcher Park Nature Center in Joliet, Illinois. She mentioned it to Sandy Vasko, the director of the Will County Historical  Museum.  Sandy, in turn, contacted Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, Director of Midwest SOARRING Foundation, and asked him to evaluate it. Joseph found the totem pole of Alaskan Coastal origin to be damaged from the woodpeckers and the elements. He reported that if it was left outside for another three to five years, it would totally be degraded.

Pilcher Park Totem Pole

Pilcher Park Totem Pole

Joseph envisioned SOARRING members restoring the totem pole to it’s original condition under the supervision of master woodworkers, restoration experts at the Field Museum, as well as tribal consultants.  This idea was proposed to the Joliet Park District at their March 2021 meeting.  It appears that a wealthy Joliet hardware store owner in Joliet purchased the totem pole in the early 1900’s and brought it back to Joliet to put on display. According to Joseph totem poles serve seven or eight purposes for Native peoples.  As the project stands now further research is needed about how to restore the totem pole in a respectful and proper way. A second meeting will be held with the Joliet Park District once the research is complete.

Virtual Zoom Presentations

2021 has been a productive a busy year for SOARRING to date. SOARRING has sponsored a number of interesting virtual Zoom presentations led by knowledgeable leaders in their field since January. These include:

  • Copper-Sulfide Mining in Minnesota given by Water Legacy board member Don Arnosti,
  • Cultural Burning by Margo Robbins, Executive Director of the Cultural Fire Management Council of the Yurok Tribe in northern California,
  • Native Americans of Glen Ellyn, Illinois Past, Present and Future: a roundtable discussion with representatives from the College of DuPage Native American Studies Program, Glen Ellyn Historical Society, the Glen Ellyn Library, and SOARRING.
  • Restoring the Wild, Migratory Bison to the Yellowstone Ecosystem by James Holt, Executive Director of the Buffalo Field Campaign and member of the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho,
  • Bird Feeding Without Bird Feeders presented by Kate Caldwell, Interpretive Naturalist at the Plum Creek Nature Center near Beecher, IL.
  • Bear Ears National Monument and It’s Place In Utah’s Wilderness, given by Clayton Daughenbough, Organizing Director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. If you missed this presentation you can view a recording of it at this link: https://vimeo.com/545173904/b9a4a2dfdb. Senator Durbin re-introduced “America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act” into the U.S. Senate on May 10. Please thank Sen. Durbin by phone at 202.224.2152, by email https://www.durbin.senate.gov/contact/email, and/or in reaction to his Tweet at https://twitter.com/SenatorDurbin/status/1391876769356070912 including #ProtectWildUtah.  Please also contact Sen. Duckworth and thank her for promptly co-sponsoring America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (S.1535) 202.224.2854 and/or email https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/connect/email-tammy. Utah’s Red Rock Wilderness is a spectacular landscape and instrumental to addressing climate change and protecting Native American cultural resources from looting and vandalism.

Stay tuned for more stimulating Zoom programs in the fall. Check our calendar page or join our email newsletter list to be notified of upcoming events.

I&M Old Canal Days

Midwest SOARRING Foundation participated in the I&M Old Canal Days celebration held in a new location across from the Heritage Pioneer Village in Lockport, IL. on Saturday, June 12 and 13, 2021. SOARRING provided Native American dancers who danced in full regalia on Sunday afternoon as well as an artifact table which included bows, arrows, and jewelry. It was an opportunity to meet and greet the public and to encourage visitors to explore the old buildings of the historic Heritage Village Pioneer Village and visit the Midwest SOARRING Native American Cultural Center located in the historic Lockport Train Station, at 113 W. 13th Street.

SOARRING Summer Equinox Celebration

On Sunday, June 20, 2021 at 11am the summer equinox celebration will be led by Joseph Standing Bear Schranz at the Medicine Wheel Garden located at the Heritage Pioneer Village in Lockport, IL. All are welcome to attend. Following the ceremony, the Miles Goddard Scholarship will be awarded to two deserving candidates. Cake and coffee will follow.

SOARRING Community Picnic, Dellwood Park, Cardinal Pavillion, Lockport, IL. Saturday, June 26, 2021

Join SOARRING members to spend an afternoon in the sun. All are welcome. Our picnic begins at 11am.
To minimize germs we will break our potluck tradition and ask everyone to bring or arrange your own food. Also, to avoid musical park-benches bringing your own lawn chair is recommended.

Dell wood Park, Lockport, IL

This is a mask-optional event. If you want to maintain distance, keep your mask on. If you are vaccinated and want to share smiles and hugs, take your mask off! If you’re afraid, we understand and will miss you and look forward to seeing you again when you feel safe to join us. If you have any symptoms in the 2 weeks before the picnic, please stay home. Masks will be on the honor system.

This is a family friendly, drug and alcohol free event.


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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