Native American culture came to life through drumming, dance, art and storytelling at the recent 25th Annual Native American Harvest Pow Wow, held at Naper Settlement.
“This is my second year coming to the Pow Wow,” said Tracy March, 48, of Naperville. “My kids loved it so much last year. It’s so much fun, they have so many things to do and it’s also a really cool learning experience.”
Spanning two days, Sept. 21 and 22, the Pow Wow was a whirlwind of customs honored by those in attendance, as well as archery demonstrations, native flute playing, native food vendors and even an appearance from an American bald eagle.
“My favorite part so far was the archery,” said Evie Thurston, 14, of Naperville. “I also really liked the teepee. That was cool.”
Possibly the most anticipated and highly regarded part of the fest was the traditional dancing and musical performances put on by professional native dancers, featuring Laura Grizzlypaws, the only female Grizzly Bear dancer in North America.
“I loved the dancing,” said Maegan Vaughan, 19, of Plainfield. “She had a whole bear on her head, which is crazy, but I could tell how much the dancing meant to her.”
Founder and President of Midwest SOARRING Foundation, Joseph Standing Bear Shranz, said he was ecstatic that the Pow Wow was received so well in it’s 25th year.
“We really tried to hone in on tradition this year, and the Grizzly Bear dancing was our biggest effort; it’s about tradition, and it’s really sacred and personal,” Shranz said. “It came together really well.”
Profits from admission and raffle tickets fund Midwest SOARRING’s repatriation work, education programs centered around indigenous life and other environmental and cultural events.
“The Pow Wow was a huge success,” Shranz said. “We’re already looking forward to begin planning for next year.” Shranz said.