Hundreds of spectators turned out for the Fourth Annual Traditional Youth Powwow & Heatlh Fair at the Four Directions Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, November 24. With more then 10,000 Native Americans living within 2 hours of Sioux City, they are a real part of the population. As with any population, some kids need direction & the Four Directions Center strives to help kids achieve the balance that is needed in their lives. Activist Frank LaMere along with Judy Yellowbank of the Winnebago Nation have worked hard to establish educational, support and wellness programs for youth & adults in the community. The Four Directons Center is a big part of the NYSS (Native Youth Standing Strong) programs. It’s so important to pass on these traditons to the Native youth and one of the best ways is through youth programs such as youth traditional pow wows. It’s a time for family and friends to come together and support their culture and traditions and learn these traditions from elders from all nations and build a positive and healthy future for our Native young people.
13 drum groups converged on the Four Directions Center with Maza Kute, Northern Host Drum and Omaha Standing Eagle, Southern Host Drum, to give the dancers and the crowd great drumming and singing. MC Randy DeCora kept things moving along with Arena Director, Preston Whitner. Head Man Dancer was Todd Ike and Head Women Dancer was Winona LaPointe. Head Boy Dancer Hoonchga Cleveland & Head Girl Dancer Mimike (Kitcheyan) Dolezai led the way for the youth event.
A special added bonus was a visit by Olympic Gold Medal Winner Billy Mills. Billy Mills is the National Spokesperson for Running Strong for American Indian Youth. An Oglala Lakota, Mr. Mills was raised on Pine Ridge Reservation South Dakota, attended the University of Kansas on a scholarship and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. In 1964 Billy Mills came from behind to win the gold medal in the 10k race and is still the only American ever to win a gold in the 10,000 meters.
Thanks to everyone for a great Fourth Annual Youth Traditional Powwow & to all the youth who showed us some great dancing. We look forward to next year and another great Youth Powwow.
ICTMN reader Bob Uhl, Head Veteran at the Cedar River Powwow in September, contributed this story and photos. Other pow wows he's involved with each year include the Indian Lake Powwow in June; Bald Eagle Days in January; and the University of Iowa Intertribal Powwow in April. He notes that the purpose of these Midwest pow wows, especially in Iowa, hosted by Julie Martineau, the two drum groups (Night Eagle and Cedar River Singers) and his family, is to educate people on customs & traditions of the Native Nations and the crowds are growing each year. Mr. Uhl served for 11 years in the U.S. Army and then worked for 27 years as an electrician for a Midwest electric utility. He is of Mescalero Apache and Ho-Chunk descent. His wife Shauna is Lakota, Cree and Delaware. Shauna makes Native American jewelry & he carves pipestone & bone. Shauna started a fund about 7 years ago for the neglected & abused children on Pine Ridge Reservation called the Little Spirits Fund. It has grown from about 6 care packages the first year to 2 cargo vans full of diapers, baby food, clothing, shoes, coats & school supplies twice per year. Check out their website here