The third annual Sweet Grass Moon Pow Wow went off earlier this month in Hopkins on the Jijak Cultural Campus, hosted and organized by the Gun Lake Tribe, also known as the Match-E-Ba-Nash-She-Wish of Pottawatomi Indians. Gathering Native Americans together from all over the Midwest to celebrate tribal culture, the event showcased Pottawatomi dance, art, songs and cuisine. Dancers adorned in their peoples' regalia lead processions honoring US veterans and those serving in the armed forces.
Generations of families were present. Tribal Council Member Phyllis Davis and her granddaughter Gracie were among the many traditionally clothed attendees. Regalia is a special outfit worn during special dance Ceremonies. Davis noted that they are not costumes; they are a visual representation of tribal heritage. Regalia is made and acquired from various sources, market places, custom orders from professional artisans, or the homemade, do-it-yourself variety. Beadwork and stitching can be time-consuming efforts, inspiring many families to pass down elaborate and symbolic pieces from one generation to the next. Some colors, concepts and patterns trace back generations, passed from family to family.
Davis encourages younger tribal members to uphold traditions and spoke of sponsorship. "Sponsors help guide a person throughout their life with songs, dances, making good decisions on styles and how to incorporate traditional colors aligned with ceremonial tradition." Time-honored patterns range from the long-established to the more modern, some even incorporating Star Wars or Disney Princess themes. "It's fun seeing how creative the young kids are," she said.