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3rd annual Native American Cultural Day at Wickiup

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown January 30th, 2014 Last Updated on: January 30th, 2014

This past summer Bob Uhl, who runs the Midwest PowWows blog, attended the Native American Cultural Day at the Wickiup Hill Learning Center in Iowa.  He captured some great photos from the event.  Let's take a look at how his day went.

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.

The MC for this event was Jerome KillsSmall Lakota elder (pictured top 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

Photo by Bob Uhl

DRumbeat1

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

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

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

Photo by Bob Uhl

Photo by Bob Uhl

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 above.

Photo by Bob Uhl

Photo by Bob Uhl

Bring in Dad & brother & you end up with an awesome trio. Hoka!

Photo by Bob Uhl

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

Photo by Bob Uhl

Photo by Bob Uhl


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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.



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Goyathlay Cheis

The pictures taken are amazing, Thank you.

Donna Lillis-Lynch

My husband and I have been to Pow Wow’s before, the whole thing was like a dream….just beautiful.

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