Annual Language & Culture Events
Kche Mko Gises Wawye’ Nimediwen
Big Bear Moon Round Dance
Our Big Bear Moon Round Dance is held annually during the third weekend in January. The Round Dance gives us the opportunity to remember those who have passed into the spirit realm and give us, who remain on our Mother Earth, a time to reflect and honor what they have done for us.
The Dewegen is the heartbeat of the people and the Earth itself. All of creation and stories are contained within the drum. The wooden drum frame represents the tree nation whom we harvest for the support or body of the drum. The trees support life, as does our sacred water - without trees there would be no life. Like all sacred creation the tree nation declared its love for neshnabé and made a sacred commitment to keep us warm and provide us with medicines. They supplant our diet with life-giving maple sugar. The trees provide us bark for canoes and wigwams and our entire support system relies on them for every aspect of traditional life. They support our sacred fires by giving of themselves to keep our sacred and home fires burning. The hide that covers the drum frame is made of moose, deer, elk or caribou and represents those four-legged ones that nourish us. We remember the four-legged relatives who promised to watch over neshnabé. The declaration made to our sacred Creator on behalf of our four-legged relatives states that they would dress us, provide shelter and give us nourishment from their own flesh so we would not go hungry.
Like the beat of a heart, it is about the continuation of life. The drum and her songs are central to a community by bringing together families young and old.
Sweetgrass Moon Powwow
The Sweetgrass Moon Powwow is held annually the weekend after July 4th. A weekend-long event, this is one of our most widely attended events all year. We welcome the local community and the general public to join us at this event each year. We're lucky enough to have Tribal Communities from across the U.S. and Canada join us for this unforgettable weekend of fellowship. This event gives us an opportunity to come together dance, celebrate and socialize. For those who would like to learn a little about Powwow etiquette, we have provided some information and pointers below:
- Be on time. The committee is doing everything possible to ensure activities begin and run smoothly.
- Appropriate dress and behavior is required in the arena. Anyone unwilling to abide by this rule will be asked to leave by the Arena Director. (If you are going to dance, try to wear dance clothes.)
- Arena benches are reserved for dancers. Dancers wishing to reserve a space on the bench should place a blanket in that space before the dance begins. Please do not sit on someone else's blanket unless invited. Uncovered benches are considered unreserved.
- Listen to the Master of Ceremonies. He will announce who is to dance and when
- Respect the position of the Head Man and Head Woman Dancers. Their role entitles them to start each song or set of songs. Please wait until they have started to dance before you join in.
- Dance as long and as hard as you can. When not dancing, be quiet and respect the arena.
- Be aware that someone standing behind you may not be able to see over you. Make room, step aside, sit or kneel if someone is behind you.
- Show respect to the flags and Honor Songs by standing during "special songs". Stand in place until the sponsors of the song have danced a complete circle and have come around you, and then join in. If you are not dancing, continue to stand quietly until the song is completed.
- While dancing at any powwow, honor the protocol of the sponsoring group.
- Some songs require that you dance only if you are familiar with the routine or are eligible to participate. Trot dances, Snake, Buffalo, etc. require particular steps or routines. If you are not familiar with these dances, observe and learn. Watch the head dancers to learn the procedures. Only veterans are permitted to dance some veteran's songs, unless otherwise stated - listen to the MC for instructions.
- The Flag Song or Indian National Anthem is sung when the American Flag is raised or lowered. Please stand and remove hats during the singing of this song. It is not a song for dancing.
- Powwows are usually non profit. It depends upon donations, raffles, blanket dances, etc. for support. Donations are encouraged as a way to honor someone.
We tentatively host our annual snowsnake games in February each year. The snowsnake games are a great time to get out of the house during those long winter months as well as enjoy some fellowship and a little healthy competition.
The game of snowsnake is a traditional neshnabé winter sport. The snowsnake gaming piece is a carved polished wooden pole that is slid down a track or trench built out of the snow. Snowsnakes can vary from two to seven feet long and are approximately an inch in diameter. They are carved from a variety of hardwoods and treated with special waxes and oils. The tournament track starting point usually consists of a three foot high ramp of hard packed snow. The track itself is a shallow iced trough which gradually declines until it is at ground level. The object of the game is for your snowsnake to travel further down the track than your competitors’ snowsnakes. Snowsnake throws have been recorded as traveling more than a mile in less than three minutes and peaking at speeds clocked by Sports Illustrated as reaching 108 miles per hour in the first mile.
This event is open to anyone interested in trying their hand at the sport or just stopping by to enjoy the competition. Age categories for the competition range from children to Elders.