by Carla Miller, Team ZAAGA’IGAN:
On Friday, July 13, 2012, I attended the Fond du Lac Elder Picnic with Holly Pellerin. There we had good food, good music, and most importantly great friends. Elders are some of my favorite people, so I really enjoyed the wonderful visit. My intent for the meeting was to interview approximately 10 – 15 people and get their history and opinion on their wild rice knowledge. The elders were extremely helpful and courteous and agreed to answer some questions, but since this was their day, I just took their phone numbers and arranged one-on-one meetings at their convenience. At the picnic I mingled and sat at the table with the honor guards as the announcer called the names of winners of some cool prizes. I realized how privileged I was to be sitting with these awesome, good natured, humorous individuals; I am looking forward to seeing them again real soon.
by Edward Lo, Team STREAM:
A gorgeous evening followed the refreshing rain and the cool breeze. As the sun set and flooded the powwow grounds with a crisp golden light, Team Zaaga’igan and Team Stream participants sat together on the bleachers after a short drive from the Cloquet Forestry Center. Just before 7pm, a drum group began chanting native songs. The grand entry (“the ceremony”) soon began, with people of all ages dressed in colorful traditional costumes and dancing rhythmically with the ensuing native songs. The coolest aspect of the whole grand entry was the jingling of the bells around each dancer’s ankles! In fact, Guelord loved the procession so much that he joined the dancing (with some guidance from Holly). Between songs, an announcer over the loudspeaker would narrate and explain the different parts of this ceremony, which honored several, if not all, branches of the U.S. armed forces. Before we had left for the powwow, Holly had outlined the procession and explained that personally, she treated the event as a way to pray or express her prayers. The immersion in this year’s annual Fond du Lac Veterans’ Powwow has certainly increased my appreciation of Native American culture and sparked interest in meeting local tribes in other parts of the country.
Seven of our team members topped off the evening with a tug of war. They branded themselves team “U of M” and participated in the first match against team “Bernstein Bears.” Bracing themselves as the referee counted down, they struggled for a brief moment before the opponents swiftly overwhelmed them. Still, it was a pretty awesome event accompanied by some fantastic photos of them in action!
Photos from Saturday, July 14, by Nick Hawthorne, Team STREAM: