ASHLAND, Wisconsin — For 40 years, the spring pow wow at Northland College has kicked off the pow wow season for the northern Wisconsin region.
“It’s a sign of awakening our busy season and an invitation for people to come out of hibernation, come out of their dens,” said Katrina Werchouski, interim director of the Native American Indigenous Culture Center.
Held in the Kendrigan Gymnasium Saturday, March 22, the pow wow is free and open to the public. The grand entry begins at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. with a feast at 5 p.m. There will be an honor song at 3 p.m. to acknowledge staff, faculty and students from the past 40 years.
The Northland College pow wow started 40 years ago with the creation of the Native American Student Association. NASA organized this event which is intended to bring the Native, and larger communities together to share, to learn and to exchange culture.
“Pow wows are social — and are a chance to teach, educate and pass on traditions,” Werchouski said. “They are also a celebration, of meeting new babies, honoring a loved one, watching a young child do their first dance, or just being in the moment.”
A member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Werchouski remembers attending the Northland College pow wow as a kid. “It was a way to shake off the winter blues,” she said. "Pow wows are about waking up the earth. You are dancing on it and waking it up,” she said.
The Northland College spring pow wow is way to bring the entire community together. “I remember as a kid coming here and feeling welcome,” Werchouski said. “Anyone coming with an open mind and an open heart will always have a space here.”
Sponsored in part by the NAICC and NASA, the pow wow is the culminating event in a month long series in March for Indigenous Cultures Awareness Month at Northland College. For a full schedule of events visit Northland.edu.