posted October 9, 2008

Events Celebrate Native American Heritage

Three events highlighting Native American peoples are scheduled in Holland this month, including two presentations at Hope College on Wednesday, Oct. 15, and culminating in the area's fourth annual traditional pow wow at the Holland Civic Center on Saturday, Oct. 25.

The public is invited to all of the events.  Admission is free.

The pow wow, which will feature the theme "Honoring Water" and is scheduled in the spirit of reconciliation, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Holland Civic Center, with highlights including Grand Entries at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., and "Quality Water," a panel discussion, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The corridor gallery of the college's De Pree Art Center is featuring a traveling exhibition of portraits taken by photographer Douglas Elbinger of Native Americans dressed in contemporary traditional regalia during the 1993 American Indian Heritage Pow Wow at MichiganStateUniversity.  One of the men who was photographed, George Martin, who is a nationally known head veteran and traditional dancer, and was head veteran during the Holland pow wow in 2006, will speak during a reception being held in conjunction with the exhibition on Wednesday, Oct. 15, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Hope will feature the address "Honoring the Water: An Anishnabek Perspective" on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. in the MaasCenter auditorium.  The keynote speakers will be Lorraine "Punkin" Shananaquet, community health representative with the Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi, and Frank Ettawageshik, chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

The pow wow on Saturday, Oct. 25, presented by the Anishnabek of West Michigan, will feature authentic Native American dancers in regalia, Native singers and drummers, along with Native American-made jewelry and other goods for sale.  The event's planning committee anticipates participants from throughout Michigan.

Dances presented during the pow wow will include the Northern Traditional Men's Dance, the Northern Traditional Women's Dance, the Traditional Men's Grass Dance, the Traditional Women's Jingle Dance, the Fancy Dance for men, the Fancy Dance for women and intertribal dances for all peoples.

The Pink Shawl Project will be a new addition to the Holland pow wow.  Native women are encouraged to craft a pink shawl to use in a special shawl dance ceremony promoting breast health awareness. The idea for the Pink Shawl Project was conceived by Shananaquet.  October is national breast cancer awareness month.

To promote this year's theme of "Honoring Water," there will be informational booths and displays by local water conservations agencies all day in the CivicCenter north hallway.  The panel discussion from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. will feature Garry Lee, a State of Michigan conservationist, along with representatives from local water conservation agencies.  Also in celebration of the theme, the Hope College Environmental Issues student group will host a waterfront clean-up at Holland's Kollen Park from 10 a.m. to noon.

Those with leading roles during the pow wow will include Dale Peters, head veteran; Henry "Tiq" Bush, master of ceremonies; Jason Wesaw, arena director; Derek Bailey, head male dancer; Tonia Bailey, head female dancer; and Black River, host drum.

The Native Americans of the area refer to all Indians as Anishnabek people and themselves as the People of the Three Fires, also known as the Ottawa (Odawa), Chippewa (Ojibwe) and Potawatomi (Bodewatomi). The pow wow, a family event open to attendance by all peoples, has been planned by a gathering committee representing members of the West Michigan Native community and other Native Americans living in the area.

The exhibition in the De Pree Art Center at Hope features 22 portrait photographs depicting dancers at the 1993 MSU Pow Wow, sponsored by the Michigan Traditional Arts Program and the Michigan State University and the Michigan State University American Indian faculty, staff, and students.

As a photojournalist, Douglas Elbinger photographed Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in May 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.  A permanent exhibit of his "Celebrity Lecture Series" photographs is on display in front of the Big 10 Room at the KelloggCenter.  Since 1978, Elbinger has operated a commercial photography studio in the Lansing area.

The exhibition is on display through Friday, Oct. 31. The gallery is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Keynote speaker Frank Ettawageshik, of Harbor Springs, grew up there on Little Traverse Bay, in the Odawa homeland of Waganakising (the Crooked Tree).  He opened Pigpigwa Pottery & Gallery in 1974 in Traverse City and was elected to the board of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of the Odawa Indians in 1989.  He was instrumental in conceiving the Tribal and First Nations Great Lakes Water Accord in 2004, and has testified before committees of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives concerning water issues.

Ettawageshik serves as a Board Member of the Michigan Indian Education Council, the Crooked Tree Arts Center, Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority and Great Lakes Resources Committee, and sits on the Board of Advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Michigan Travel Commission and a research associate for the Michigan State University Museum.

Lorraine "Punkin" Shananquet, of Hopkins, is affiliated with the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi (GunLake).  She has been employed as a community health representative since 1999.

Shananquet holds title to "Mide-waunah-Kwe" or Keeper of the Water Bundle for the Center Fire - Three Fires Midewin Society. The responsibility is held by generations, meaning its roles are passed from mother to daughter.

The exhibition in the De Pree Art Center is sponsored by the college's department of art.  The address in the Maas Center is co-sponsored by the college's Office of Multicultural Education and the Phelps Scholars Program.  Multiple programs at Hope are among the sponsors for the pow wow at the Civic Center.  In addition to Hope, the pow wow's sponsors include several native tribes of Michigan, and the city of Holland.

The De Pree Art Center is located at 160 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.  The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street. The Holland Civic Center is located west of Pine Avenue at 150 W. Eighth St.