What: A traditional Native American pow wow with dancing, music, food, educational displays and entertainment. Bring your own lawn chair.
When: Gates open 5 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Morsches Park, off Indiana 205 in Columbia City
Cost: $4; children ages 12 and younger are free. Free parking.
Information: For more and a full schedule of events, visit www.miamipowwow.org.
The 17th annual Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow, with the theme “We dance with our Ancestors,” will be held Friday-Sunday at Morsches Park in Columbia City. Visitors are invited to join the cultural experience, and even take part in the highlight of any pow wow, Native American dance.
“We chose this theme because we dance to honor our ancestors and the Native American way,” said Pat Smith of Columbia City, who has worked with pow wows for more than 30 years. “This year, we're more or less remembering our ancestors as we're dancing.”
There are two main types of Native American pow wows: contest and traditional.
Contest pow wows offer prizes so they bring out more dancers and fancier regalia, or dance clothing, Smith said. “At a traditional pow wow, you dance because you honor your ancestors, parents and friends,” Smith said. “It's a lot more fun because we can ask spectators to join in.”
The Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow begins 5 p.m. Friday with 32 vendors offering traditional crafts and foods.
Holly Meyers of Soarin' Hawk Raptor Rehabilitation will be in the Family tent 6-8 p.m. Friday with a display about the nonprofit organization's work helping injured birds and releasing them into the wild, Smith says.
At 7 p.m., a freewill “Young Native Nite” concert will feature guitarists Adam Strack and Mike Mowery.
“We always have Native American music on Friday evenings, and this year we have two young men who are Miami,” Smith said.
Saturday morning begins with a 5K Healthy Traditions fun run/walk at 8 a.m. Then at 10 a.m., the pow wow gates open, and Living Native History demonstrations begin with guest artist Erik Vosteen explaining how ancient people in northeast Indiana made pottery. Vosteen will make replica woodland earthenware pottery from Indiana clay and demonstrate how to cook with the pots, according to a news release.
Demonstrations will take place all day so visitors can sample foods and try Native arts.
A silent auction will be held 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in the information tent, and flute player Bud Eagle Wolf and guitarist Strack will entertain throughout the day.
At 12:45 p.m., a group of Native American youth ages 12 and younger will perform the “Aya Aya” song for the first time ever in the Miami language, Smith said. “Aya” in Miami means “hello,” so “Aya Aya” is a welcome song.
Miami Nation members have been working to restore use of their native language.
The Grand Entry dance then begins with the Lord's prayer sung by a Native American artist followed by a procession of flags and men and women dancers. The dancers will wear different regalia, depending on what dances they participate in.
The dancers move to the rhythm of three large drums, which eight or nine men beat.
“Women stand behind them and help sing Native American songs that have been passed down from generation to generation,” Smith said.
Near the end of dance, dancers will invite spectators to come out and try a few steps.
“That's something we really enjoy,” Smith said.
At 6:30 p.m., the evening Grand Entry dancing begins and lasts until 8 p.m.
On Sunday, gates open at 10 a.m. and vendors and Living Native History displays are available all day. A “Scholarship Auction” will be held at 10:30 a.m. to help Native American college students, and Grand Entry dancing begins at noon.
Although Smith is Potowatomi and her husband Jack is Comanche, they have been helping out with the Miami Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow since 1998.
“You don't have one tribe in one area anymore, so pow wows are open to all tribes, but the committee is mostly Miami,” Pat Smith said. “That's where the name Mihsihkinaahkwa comes from.”
Mihsihkinaahkwa is the name of Miami Chief Little Turtle.
Pat Smith said Morsches Park in Columbia City is a good pow wow location because it is primitive and full of nature.
“There's trees all around,” she said.