Monday, August 26, 2013

Native American Cultural Day



Native American Cultural Day 
Wickiup Hill Learning Center 
Linn County Conservation Dept. 
Toddville Iowa 

( Please click on any of the pics for a larger view)          (Photo by Bob Uhl)                                  
 Linn County Conservation Commission & the Wickiup Learning Center held its 3rd annual Native American Cultural Day on Saturday August 24th at the Wickiup Learning Center, North of Cedar Rapids near Toddville, Iowa. Running an event & coordinating so things run smooth can sometimes be an arduous task, but director Gail Barels & a long list of volunteers & supporters did an excellent job at hosting the event.


                                                                                       (Photo by Bob Uhl)
The MC for this event was Jerome KillsSmall Lakota elder (pictured 2nd from left), NAMA Nominees Lakota Drum Group Cedar River Singers, Oglala Nation grass dancer Stew Huntley & traditional dancer elder Preston Duncan from the Meskwaki Nation. The purpose of the event was to educate everyone on Native American Cultures & Traditions. Cedar River Singers started off with the Traditional Flag Song & Veterans Song. 


                                                                                         (Photo by Bob Uhl)
The heartbeat of Mother Earth is found in the drumming of every native nation at gatherings or powwows. Many of these groups sing & drum for hours at a time & I have the utmost respect for their drive in keeping these events constantly in forward motion. Our families have done several powwows together in the Midwest with the Cedar River Singers & I have seen this family grow in many ways & respect what they have done & do for the Native communities. 
                                                                                      (Photo by Bob Uhl)
As the dancers were asked to introduce themselves, this native elder stood picturesque with his classic native features associated with the American indigenous population in his traditional regalia. “I am Preston Duncan from the Meskwaki Nation. Many of you know us as the Sac & Fox.” 
                                                                            (Photo by Bob Uhl)
Behind the Wickiup Learning Center lies the ground where his ancestors made their winter camp every year, long ago. Inside the center (pictured below), a replica stands of how these lodges were built for winter camp. 
                                                                                               (Photo by Bob Uhl)
 Native traditions & cultures are celebrated in many ways but the one most familiar to the public is the powwow. Every style of dance, grass dance, traditional (men & women’s) & jingle dress, all have meanings. Many of these dances have evolved over time in competition dances but the traditional meaning still exists. MC Jerome KillsSmall, Lakota elder, took spectators on a journey of traditions & culture while dancers, Stew Huntley, grass dancer, Oglala Nation & Preston Duncan, men’s traditional dancer performed their respective dances.
                                                                                           (Photo by Bob Uhl)
                                                                                       (Photo by Bob Uhl)
Another aspect of these gatherings is hand drum singing & competitions, which Zack (Cedar River Singers), is performing below. 
                                                                             (Photo by Bob Uhl)
Bring in Dad & brother & you end up with an awesome trio. Hoka! 
                                                                                    (Photo by Bob Uhl)

At the entrance of the Wickiup Learning Center I found this statement by Aldo Leopold, American author, scientist, ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. But this statement is nothing new to Native Traditions as my elders stated it this way in teaching us; Show me & I will remember, teach me & I will learn, involve me & I will understand. This statement included everything in our lives, a ‘how to’ about every aspect of this earth walk. Honor & respect everyone & everything, especially the environment that gives us life. Centers such as this one, are an abundant wealth of knowledge for the 7th generation to survive & what better way to bring this aspect into awareness then through a joint endeavor by
the conservation commissions & the original caretakers of the land, the indigenous population.      Bob Uhl



























Saturday, August 3, 2013

147th Winnebago Veterans Homecoming Celebration Powwow Ho Chunk Nation Winnebago Nebraska

The Ho-Chunk Nation rocked the Powwow scene this weekend as 323 dancers descended on Veterans Memorial Park in Winnebago Nebraska. This was a homecoming for me as a veteran, and an honor, as 55 years ago my grandfather, Yellowhorse, 
took me to my first Powwow at 5 years old in this very park.

With 147 Powwows under their belt, this nation ran this celebration with precision. Between the humor & direction of MCs Randy DeCora, Chris Grizlik and Boyd Ladd along with arena director Pete Snowball Sr., there wasn’t time to take a breath between contest dances or intertribal. Nice work gentlemen! As we know, there are many more behind the scenes that work hard to make this flow smoothly. Great job everyone.

Twenty-year-old Craig “Tunny” Cleveland led the way as head man dancer. Craig has lived in Winnebago his whole life, graduated from Winnebago Public School and is a    sophomore at Little Priest Tribal College. Tyla Morris, Jr. Miss Nebraska Winnebago & Sr. Miss Nebraska Winnebago led the way as head woman dancer.

There were many new faces, as well as veteran dancers from the Powwows around the Midwest with lots of competition. Judges called for ‘one more song’ several times in several categories to break the ties.

The heartbeat of these Powwows is always the singing & drumming of several groups; Haylush ka, Maza Kute, Southern Boyz & Buck Wild, HuJope, Whitetail, Whitetail Boys, just to mention a few, kept everyone dancing.

This was a great Powwow & if you’ve never been you need to attend this one. One of the great parts, as there were many, was that everyone was smiling, very cordial & very welcoming from the little ones to the elders. Thank you Ho-Chunk nation for this blessing & letting me witness your culture & traditions. For Full view of picture just click on the pictures. Doksha----Bob Uhl