So, as I have mentioned before, I am a part of the Potawatomi Nation, Citizen band. Every year they hold a Family Reunion/Heritage Festival, which includes a Powwow on Saturday night.
Just a back of the envelope history - the Potawatomi are a branch of the Algonquin speaking people around the Great Lakes area. Their name means “People of the place of the fire.” They had a pretty good relation with the French settlers and government, but things went south when the English took over and later the Americans. They were first move to Iowa and Kansas, and then most of them were moved to Oklahoma. They have the name “Citizen” band because they were the first tribe to take American citizenship, in the hopes off better legal dealings (spoiler, it didn’t help.) But now they have their own land outside off Shawnee, OK, east of OKC. @Mindysan33 should be tagged here.
We got there late Friday, but had the full Saturday to see as much as we could. They have a lot of stuff for kids, like crafts and face paint and bounce houses and lots of other stuff.
So I finally got her her official Tribal card, so she now has her own ID. (Already enrolled her several years ago). We went to the Heritage Center which has a small, in progress museum. They had made huge improvements over that last time I was there, which IIRC had flooded and the stuff was in general disarray.
The two neatest things, I think, was a traditional bark house, like they would have used up north, and canoe.
These pictures are from the dance.
An elder consecrating the arena circle with I believe tobacco and sage incense.
This guy is doing a Turkey Dance. He is also head of the CPN language department and I got some cool pic of ancestors from him shown below. His Grandma was a cousin to my Grandpa.
I should have tried to get a better pic of this guy. He is doing a Chicken Dance, but not the cocka-doodle-do kind (or the wedding reception kind), but a Prairie Chicken. And in the wild they DO do a courtship dance for the females. He won the male division.
Here is what a male prairie chicken looks like, as most of you city folk have never heard of them
Not sure what this is called, but it is one of the female dancers. There were several Shawl Dancers, but I didn’t get a good pic. The Potawatomi women traditionally had shawls with long fringe adorning the edges. One would it over their arm like a blanket and do this sort of small step foot shuffle, and cause your shawl to sway back and forth as you go around the arena.
I will say the number of dancers in regalia were a bit thin this year. Last time I went they had a couple of men grass dancers, and several women in bell dresses. These look sort of like a dress from Little House on the Prairie, but covered in these conical bells. But still, great to see people in full regalia.
On Sunday we went on a tour of the CPN Eagle Aviary. There are I think 7 tribal aviaries in the us now and this one was the 4th one.
So if someone finds a hurt eagle, they can take it to the Wildlife and Parks Department and they will try to nurse it back to health. They have guidelines, though, that if the eagle can’t fly away after 6 months to put it down. These aviaries are taking in wounded eagles and letting them live out the rest of their natural life.
The first pics show a success story. Wadase Zhabwe, is a juvenile Bald Eagle whose new name means Brave Breakthrough. She came from Florida, but after 2 years she was well enough to fly and fend for herself. They did a soft release, setting food out for her, but she came back less and less and now they have seen her just once this year. But they put a tracking back pack on her, and they can see where she has been.
Here is a copy of the legend of the eagle and one of the reasons it is still considered sacred.
Here is another success story. The pic below shows the larger female, the smaller male, and the huge for his age and gender brown “baby”. Forgive me I don’t recall their names. The mom and dad can’t fly, but 4 years ago they paired up. They didn’t know what they were doing, but she laid some non-fertile eggs on the ground. The following year they made a real nest, and she laid eggs. They took them to incubate them, but it turned out they weren’t fertile either. The following year they tried again and this time they let them keep them, but they didn’t hatch, but they got them a surrogate chick to take care of and raise from another aviary (different kind of eagle).
Last year she laid two, a normal looking one and a weird, small, rounder one. They thought they were going to be duds too so just let them go through the motions again. Lo and behold the weird round one hatched on day 36. They let the parents feed and care for it (vs puppet feeding) and IIRC this is the first bald eagle born in a tribal aviary. They told some humorous stories about Wildlife and Parks and needing permit for what the eagles did on their own. One year they wanted the eggs destroyed, because they lacked a permit. They also lacked a permit for this chick, but eventually got one. Despite the Parks Departments suggestion, they plan to let the “baby” enter the wild when it is ready, as it is perfectly healthy.
Here are some of the other birds there. Some of them were quite vocal! None of them can fly for one reason or another.
This is Archer. He’s an old son of a bitch with a really messed up wing and been in captivity for 14 years, IIRC. So he is probably close to 20 years old He like to sit on the soaker hose and would dig it out if buried. I can relate to this guy.
I was able to glean some more info about our family history. I new we were part of the Navarre family (which was one of the honored families this year.) But now I know better the directly linage and even got a few pics.
Pierre Navarre Married Angelique Kisnahquah in 1820. She was the daughter of a Potawatomi chief. They would be my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandparents.
Here is a pic of Pierre later in life.
Here is their daughter Frances Navarre
She married John DeGraff and they had many children including Jospeph DeGraff, who married Dora Riggs shown here.
And hey, what would a Mister44 post be with out some guns. As part of an economic plan, the tribe has leased land to non tribal owned business (I think in some cases they are run by tribal members, but privately owned). So there was a pretty nice gun store and range they set up a year or so ago. They had some really neat things to rent, and a few “museum” pieces in the lobby. The one I want to show off is a Lahti L-39 20mm Anti-Tank rifle. Used by Finland during the Winter War and WWII, it was a beast. 50kg with a 51" barrel and could be broken down to be carried by a crew or pulled by a horse.
It has armor piercing 20mm rounds, and could punch through the armor of most tanks early in the war, but was made obsolete by newer tanks. It still was used to punch through fortifications, and anti-sniper tactics.