Hundreds of visitors attended the inter-tribal Cedar River Powwow in Osage, Iowa on September 29 and 30. Dakota Head Dancer Dedric Dean Thomas, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Lakota Women’s Head Dancer Becky White Feather Riney, of Keokuk, Iowa, led the way as spectators, young & old, watched with anticipation in hopes to learn more about these Native Nations customs, drumming, singing & dancing.
Local area schools bused children to the Powwow Arena on Friday for the event and Cedar River Singer Mark Ravenhair, Lakota Nation, explained the purpose of having a pow wow & other traditions of Native Nations.
“We feel it is very important to educate all the young ones on these traditions & customs so they can better understand the Native Nations,” says Ravenhair.
The event began with the presentation of colors, the Eagle Staff, P.O.W/M. I. A Flag, and the American Flag. The arena filled with an array of colors from men, women and children dancing in traditional regalia to the drum groups Night Eagle and Cedar River Singers.
Night Eagle (of Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and the Cedar River Singers (Vermillion, South Dakota) provided great drumming & singing keeping the heartbeat of Mother Earth & Native Nations ever present. Night Eagle drummer & singer William Brown emceed the event providing the crowd & dancers with humor and Native tradition.
Besides the traditional dances, spectators enjoyed switch dancers and the sweatheart potato dance competitions. Spectators were also able to get out & dance in the arena during inter-tribals, which everyone enjoyed.
Julie Martineau, of Mediapolis, Iowa, the coordinator for the Cedar River Powwow sponsored the event along with the Mitchell County DNR. Martineau also coodinates and sponsors the Indian Lake Powwow held every June in Farmington, Iowa.
Connect with these drum groups & Julie Martineau through Facebook.
(For Night Eagle search for William Brown on Facebook.)
Also, if you’re interested, Cedar River Singers provide drum-making workshops for young & old around the Midwest.
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 P0wwow 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.