September 19, 2014

Tribe ready to kick off Standish Powwow

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STANDISH — The warm weather is here and that must mean that it’s time to get ready for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s third annual Honoring Saganing Powow.

The powwow, which will be held next to the Saganing Tribal Center at 2750 Worth Road, in Standish, on the weekend of June 5 and 6, will include a relaxed atmosphere that Native Americans at heart can enjoy.

With the non-competitive powwow open to the public, visitors will have the chance to view various events that include drumming, traditional dancing, speaking of the native language, and education of the tribal ways of life.

According to Tribal Public Relations Director Frank Cloutier, the Grand Entrance is the most popular part of the powwow.

“We use our veteran warriors society to lead that,” he said about the Grand Entrance, which will happen at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and again at 1 p.m. on Sunday. “We have our veterans and our children included in that.”

The powwow will also include traditional arts for sale from at least 10 traders who will be on site selling silversmith sculptures, beading, baskets and more.

For those who may be hungry for a new taste or for those who are just looking for some good old traditional tribal food, the gathering will have plenty to offer, as traditional plates like fry bread, corn soup, Indian tacos and some western culture favorites will be available.

“It’s a mix of western and traditional foods,” said Cloutier about the food that will be served at the powwow. “Corn soup, it’s a clear soup and generally we have some meat in it. Indian bread is a flatbread that is fried in grease. It’s not that healthy for you, but it’s really good.”

Though many people may just come to sample the food, visitors will be able to watch many different types of traditional dances, including traditional male dancing, and women’s shell dancing.

“The shell dance is where the native women dance with shells. Everything they do has to do with nature,” Cloutier said about the native dance. “There are several types and styles. The beat of the drum is supposed to represent the heartbeat of our elders.”

Though the powwow seems like it has been in Standish for a while, the popular summer attraction has actually only been held at the its current site for the last three years.

Moving from its previous location at the Chi Asin site in Chesaning, where it was held for five years and co-sponsored by the Chesaning Chamber of Commerce, the tribe moved it to its recently new site in Standish to get closer to its heritage and people.

According to Cloutier, part of the reason that the powwow was moved to Standish is because the land in the area is part of traditional tribal hunting lands.

With such a huge event being connected to the tribe, many may think that the powwow is funded completely by the casino, however, it’s the community that also keeps the event going year after year as local businesses and the gate fees go toward funding the event for the next year.

The PR director said “absolutely” 100 percent of the gate fees go toward funding the event for next year. “We are committed to bringing this event back year after year.”

Saganing Tribal Council member Ron Nelson said he hopes that everyone comes out to join in on the fun.

“It is a great opportunity for us to be able to offer our rich tradition as a native community,” Nelson said about his tribe’s powwow. “I would encourage everyone if you haven’t had a chance to come and enjoy our weekend with us.”

Gate fees for the event are $3 for a daily pass, $5 for a weekend pass, and $1 for children.

The gates are going to be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the powwow will continue until sundown each day.

For more information about the event, call 1-800-884-6271.

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