There is not enough “wow” in pow wow to describe the brilliant and beautiful entrance of more than 300 dancers who filled the arena in Winnebago, Nebraska, for the annual Veterans Homecoming Celebration Powwow. The event commemorates the return of Chief Little Priest and the Fort Omaha Scouts, Company A, Nebraska Volunteers of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.
This pow wow is centered on honoring the veterans of every age, and from every experience and background.
Under the direction of emcees Chris Grezlic, Boye Ladd and Garan Coons there was also plenty of humor to be enjoyed. Every emcee looks for his ‘go to’ people in the dance arena to make it happen, whether its drum contests, judges or dancers, these are the people who give the ‘high sign’ to move the pow wow forward.
Leading the way for the women was Head Women Dancer Jonielle Smith, (Ha da zha miinga meaning ‘comes to light’). She is from the Thunder Clan and a student at Western Iowa Tech. She has also been the Jr. Miss and Sr. Miss Winnebago Nebraska, and Ms. San Diego State University 2002-2003.
Head Man Dancer Gentry St. Cyr, Ho-Chunk and Oglala Nations (Bear Clan), descendant of Chief Red Cloud and White Cow Killer, led the way for the men. Gentry has been dancing since he was 3 years old and recently returned from Russia dancing with the Many Moccasins Dance Troupe.
HayLushka & HuJope, host drums, sounded out the heart beat of mother earth for this celebration along with 12 other drum groups, including a visit from the Black Lodge Singers.
This is one of the oldest, biggest and best run pow wows in the midwest. Make arrangenments to attend the 149th annual pow wow next year, to see how it’s done– Ho-Chunk Style.
This story appeared on the author's blog. You can read it here: MidwestPowwows.blogspot.com.