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Native American Heritage Days at Delavan Sept. 18-20
Posted By Staff On September 9, 2009 @ 12:00 am In Outdoors | No Comments
• Sponsored by Odanah Project
By Susan Johnson
Native American Heritage Days will be Sept. 18-20 at Community Park, 1220 S. Shore Drive, Delavan, Wis., sponsored by the Odanah Project. Coordinator Thunder Ruthven said:
This is the first-ever event of that name. ‘Odanah,’ in the Ojibwa language, means ‘village.’ In the early original language, it translates to ‘a meeting of hearts.’
Events are scheduled as follows: Friday, Sept. 18, is Education Day for school groups. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, are intertribal powwow days open to the general public. Host drum will be the Milwaukee Bucks. Emcees are Ron Kanutski and Thunder Ruthven.
Thunder Ruthven is chairman of the Odanah Project as well as the
Honor the Firekeepers
Powwow at Lake Geneva, Wis. He granted The Rock River Times an exclusive interview.
TRRT: How many tribes will be participating?
It’s hard to say. We have Potawatomi and various bands of Chippewa. The French call us Ojibwa, and the English call us Chippewa. It’s the same people. They identify in the States as Chippewa and in Canada as Ojibwa.
The Odanah Project is an intertribal endeavor. The language it comes from is Algonquin. Various dialects of the language would be spoken among the Ojibwa, the Potawatomi and the Ottawa. The word itself means ‘village’ and coming together—‘ a meeting of hearts.’ The concept was to give a place for Native American children that live in the inner city to have a chance to connect with their culture and their elders and learn traditional ways, to keep their traditions and culture alive. We have people in various communities that are interested in using these places—people from Milwaukee, Racine, Wis., and Chicago came up to take advantage of these traditional village-type structures that reflect the cultural heritage that was prevalent. People from other cultures are also participating—such as Lakota, so these people also have an opportunity to put structures on the land. What Odanah iswe are supporting the powwow to bring attention to the mounds that are endangered…the grounds have been used for educational trips from the American Indian Center in Chicago, and we are in the process of rebuilding the place.
TRRT: How did this event start?
We had a one-day event last year called ‘Heritage Days.’ The producer who put the event together was Skip Twardosz. He was the main organizer at that event, and he is one of the backbones of what is going on here. We have people coming down from Forest County Potawatomi. We have Ben Yahola, currently from the Wisconsin area. He is conducting a Sacred Sites Run; he has done many Sacred Sites runs throughout the county. His runners ran around Lake Geneva, where they followed some of the trails around Lake Geneva and back to the powwow site. This is part of what he does to bring attention to the Sacred Site. There are quite a few in the Wisconsin area. He is going to be conducting one of these runs in the town of Delavan. They will be running this marathon on Saturday and Sunday [Sept. 20-21] in honor of the mounds that are there. We are trying to bring attention to the mounds, and they are at risk of further damage from road extension plans from the county.
The primary focus is on the mounds. Native American Heritage Days is co-sponsored by the Community Park in the town of Delavan, Wis. It is also being co-sponsored by the Odanah Project of Lake Geneva…a cultural preservation organization providing space for Native American youth in the inner city. … It is through events like this that we share our culture with those who choose to participate in our events.
TRRT: What happens on Friday?
Friday is an Education Day. We have some children coming up from the old location in Genoa City, Wis. These are school children. We also have local school children from the town of Delavan area. How we work the Education Day is, we have five or six presenters. At each site will be a station. The children will be divided up in groups and sent to different stations. Every 15 minutes, they will rotate and go to another station. We will be sharing things about the drum and about the regalia [Native clothing worn at rituals]. We want to get away from make-believe. This is a continuation of our culture, and we practice this on a daily basis. Also, the presenters will be sharing stories. Some presenters will share how different crafts were done, like beading. We will also have presenters talk about the Sacred Sites that will be close to the mounds, and various other Native American teachings. We will have two separate groups. The first group will be at 9 o’clock and go until 1 [p.m.] or so, sometimes having lunch. Then, we will have another group at 12 o’clock and go until 2.
Any teachers who are interested in participating in the program can contact Thunder Ruthven at (708) 715-5042 to schedule their group so that we can know how many are coming and divide them up accordingly.
TRRT: What’s on Saturday?
Saturday and Sunday will be the actual powwow. The gates will open at 10 a.m. on both days. We will have Grand Entry about 1 o’clock. On Saturday, we will take a break at 5 o’clock for our dancers, drummers and elders. About 7 o’clock Saturday, we will have the Grand Entry for the evening session [which] will run to about 10 p.m. Mound running will be done Saturday morning. The time is 10 a.m. We will have a ceremony at the mounds, which will include a pipe ceremony officiated by Skip Twandosz, who is Forest County Potawatomi, and by Bob Stone of the Bad River Ojibwa. On Sunday, the event will close at 5 o’clock. What the powwow offers is traditional foods, crafts, vendors, educational experiences and, of course, the traditional music and dancing and the regalia.
TRRT: What types of vendors will be there?
They sell a variety of things. Some will be selling craft items, supplies for crafts. Some vendors will offer odds and ends like hides, furs, beads, threads, replica feathers and Native foods.
Steve Schoff, Community Park manager at Delavan, told us,
There is a sacred run. They have a Native American who carries earth from sacred sites around the country. They have little bags of earth, and they run a 10-mile course at 8:30 Saturday and Sunday morning. The actual powwow opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The park has one mound left. We originally had five mounds. Through time and construction and roads and whatever, the other mounds were obliterated. It’s a 15-acre park. With the park area, it’s called the Inlet Mound Village, and sometimes it’s called the Mereness farm, and Inlet Creek. They interchanged the names over time, and eventually it was designated by the state of Wisconsin as an official burial site. We have other mounds in the area around Delavan.
According to a brochure from Community Park,
The Inlet Village or Mereness Village site was on the Mereness and other farms on the northeast shore of Delavan Lake, south of Inlet (Jackson Creek). It was on both sides of the present South Shore Drive. The waters of Mereness Spring, located on the north side of the road, flow to the lake through this village site (Community Park).
Charles E. Brown, Wisconsin Historical Society, surveyed this site on Sept. 7, 1924, recording the positions of one bird effigy, one club linear, and position of a conical mound destroyed during road construction. The position of an earthen feature labeled ‘Doubtful Mount’ was also recorded. Brown later decided the mound was of prehistoric origin, but had not been disturbed. The linear mound and bird were roughly oriented toward Mereness Spring. A habitation site known as Mereness Village or Inlet Village is associated with the mounds.
The inlet village site was updated in 1976 by David E. Overstreet, principal investigator of the Great Lakes Archaeological Research Center, Inc.
John H. Broihahn, state archaeologist, Wisconsin Historical Society, reports while the area occupying the village site has been cultivated, houses, fire pits, and storage areas may be present below the disturbed layer in the park. He also reported it is believed that the native culture is late Woodland (AD 600 to AD 900).
One mound of the group remains. As the remaining mound, located in Community Park—Town of Delavan, is number 2. … All other mounds have been obliterated.
Admission to the powwow is $5 for adults, $3 for elders and children up to age 10, children 3 and younger are free. Note to vendors: There is no booth fee. Call (847) 394-1043 daytime or (708) 343-3950 evenings.
From the September 9-15, 2009 issue
Article printed from The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com
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