A traditional pow wow of Native American peoples has been scheduled in the Holland area for a second consecutive year.
The pow wow, which will feature the theme "Honoring Our Heritages" and is scheduled in a spirit of reconciliation, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Holland Civic Center, with highlights including Grand Entries at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. An address on the history of the region's Native Americans will precede the pow wow, and will take place at the Maas Center conference room at Hope College on Friday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m.
The public is invited to both the pow wow and the lecture. Admission is free.
The address on Oct. 27, "People of the Three Fires: Then and Now," will be presented by John Bailey, an Odawa who is the former executive director of the State of Michigan's Commission on Indian Affairs. Bailey will also be Master of Ceremonies during the pow wow the next day.
The pow wow, presented by the Anishnabek of West Michigan, will feature Native dancers in regalia, Native singers and drummers as well as traders of Native-made wares and Native American food. The event's planning committee anticipates participants from throughout Michigan.
In keeping with the theme and the pow wow's ongoing purpose of reconciliation, the traditional Veterans' Circle featured in conjunction with the 1 p.m. Grand Entry will include not only Native Americans who are veterans but also an invited Mexican-American and Dutch-American as representatives of the area's two largest ethnic groups.
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. Immediately following the 1 p.m. Grand Entry, an Honor Song will pay tribute to veterans of all races, all of whom will be invited into the dance arena.
In addition to John Bailey, those with leading roles during the pow wow include George Martin, head veteran; David Shananaquet, arena director; Robert Oliverri, head male; Teresa Magnuson, head female; and Ribbontown, 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 (Ojibwa[y]) 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 emphasis on reconciliation stems from incidents as far back as the settlement of Holland as a city under the Dutch beginning in 1847. The early settlers harvested the crops planted by the Native Americans, and burned for firewood the troughs the Indians used to gather maple sap. The Native Americans eventually left the Holland area in 1849, migrating along the lakeshore to resettle in Northport on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. They were led by the Rev. George Nelson Smith and his wife, Arvilla - the first white missionaries to the area, and by Native American leader Peyson Wolfe.
Friday's speaker, John Bailey, retired from the State of Michigan after serving as an economic development advisor for a 38-county region, and is also a former regional director for United and SouthEastern Tribes, Nashville, Tenn., covering a seven-state region. He has been an adjunct professor on Michigan Indian history at Bay Mills Community College. He serves as a national consultant to Native tribes and urban Indian centers, and also serves as Master of Ceremonies at many Native gatherings throughout the Great Lakes region.
Bailey's lecture is co-sponsored by the college's Office of Multicultural Life and Phelps Scholars Program, and the college is among the sponsors for the pow wow. In addition to Hope, the pow wow's sponsors include the Gun Lake Band of Potawatomi Indians, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi and First United Methodist Church of Holland.
The Maas Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street. The Holland Civic Center is located west of Pine Avenue at 150 W. Eighth St.