Evanston’s Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is hosting a day trip Saturday, September 5, to the ancestral homeland of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in southwest Michigan.
The trip, by motor coach, will visit the Pokagon’s annual pow wow on a wooded site next to a lake on tribal property in Dowagiac, Mich., about 114 miles northeast of Chicago. En route, the tour will stop for a buffet lunch at the tribe’s Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich.
The tour bus will leave the Mitchell Museum, 3001 Central St., Evanston, at 8 a.m. and return at approximately 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $80 per person ($75 for museum members) and include lunch at the Four Winds. Because space is limited, reservations are required. Call the museum at (847) 475-1030 for details or consult its Web site: http://www.mitchellmuseum.org.
At the Pokagon Potawatomi’s 24th annual pow wow, called “Kee-Boon-Mein Kaa,” or “Celebrating the Huckleberry Harvest,” visitors will have the opportunity to observe traditional and contemporary Native dance contests set against the aural backdrop of singing and drumming.
New this year is a Great Lakes Old-Style dance contest for dancers in regalia (ornate special-occasion outfits) that reflects traditional Potawatomi and other Great Lakes Indian styles and designs.
During “intertribal” pow wow dances, everyone — Natives and non-Natives alike — are invited to dance or walk a circle around the powwow arena.
Making a guest appearance will be film and television actress Irene Bedard, an Alaska Native, who voiced the role of Pocahontas in the Disney animated feature film and also appeared in the film “The New World” and the TV min-series “Into the West,” among other productions.
Artisans will demonstrate black-ash basket making and copper working, and there will be presentations about Native language.
American Indian vendors will sell art, craftwork, and food.
The pow wow’s Web site describes the event as “part county fair, part family reunion, and part traditional ceremony” where Native people come “to celebrate their identity and to visit and share with their friends in the greater community” (http://www.pokagonpowwow.com).
The Pokagon’s Four Winds resort, where the tour will stop for lunch, opened in August 2007 and has architectural and design elements that reflect Potawatomi heritage. The entrance canopy suggests canoes (turned upside down.as if in storage). A gift shop sells authentic Native American arts and crafts.