Creating unity among all peoples, preserving the environment and promoting cultural awareness is the threefold mission of this weekend's 19th annual Harvest Pow Wow organized by Midwest SOARRING Foundation.
The pow wow will take over from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at Naper Settlement in Naperville. Known for the Grand Entry ritual, the pow wow offers dancing, musical performances, a 20-foot teepee and vendors selling handcrafted goods or Native American tacos.
19th annual Harvest Pow WowWho: Sponsored by the Midwest SOARRING Foundation
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22
Where: Naper Settlement, 532 S. Webster St., Naperville
Cost: $10 for adults $10, $7 for ages 3 to 12 and seniors 62 and older, free for younger children
Info: midwestsoarring.org or (708) 257-4300
"It's an amazing event, and so many people come out for it," Naper Settlement spokeswoman Donna DeFalco said. "They really enjoy learning about their Native American culture because there really isn't an opportunity to experience that in Naperville."
This is the ninth year the pow wow will be in Naperville, and Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, founder and president of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation, said activities offered during the two-day festival will be diverse, yet traditional.
Highlighting the event will be a performance at 5:30 p.m. Saturday by Pueblo musician Robert Mirabal, a two-time Grammy winner from New Mexico who crafts his own flutes. He'll follow a 5 p.m. hula-dancing demonstration by Mrs. Illinois Jessica Tevega of Aurora. Both performances come after the first Grand Entry, which launches the event's formal program.
"If you've never seen the Grand Entry, that's what you want to see, and that's when the pow wow formally starts," Schranz said about the ceremonies, which will begin at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
About 100 dancers in brightly colored regalia will proceed in together before performing different types of dances.
Military veterans also will be ceremonially honored around the same time as each Grand Entry, Schranz said. The Midwest SOARRING Foundation, which stands for Save Our Ancestors Remains and Resources Indigenous Network Group, tries to select veterans who have not yet been recognized for their service.
"We try to honor veterans who have served combat-wise with a special medal," Schranz said. "It's a very moving experience when you see their reaction."
Organizers are hoping about 10,000 people attend the pow wow this year, and when those visitors are not watching dancers or drummers do their thing, they can be learning about wolves, eagles and birds of prey, listening to storytellers, or learning to make an arrowhead.
Crafters will sell items ranging from fine silver and turquoise jewelry to woven rugs, and five vendors will sell food, with the highlight being the Native American taco.
"It's an Indian taco on fry bread," Schranz said. "That's the secret ingredient. It gives them the better taste."
A Special Events and Cultural Amenities grant from the city of Naperville helps the Midwest SOARRING Foundation put on the annual pow wow, a fundraiser that supports the group's cultural activities and environmental activism year-round.