Harvest Pow Wow in Naperville celebrates Native American culture

 
By Ann Piccininni
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 9/20/2018 1:47 PM
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  • The Harvest Pow Wow that returns this weekend to Naperville's Naper Settlement is described by organizers as a "short cultural immersion experience."

    The Harvest Pow Wow that returns this weekend to Naperville's Naper Settlement is described by organizers as a "short cultural immersion experience." Daily Herald file photo

  • The Pow Wow is sponsored by Midwest SOARRING, a nonprofit organization, and will be presented both Saturday and Sunday in downtown Naperville.

    The Pow Wow is sponsored by Midwest SOARRING, a nonprofit organization, and will be presented both Saturday and Sunday in downtown Naperville. Daily Herald file photo

There's something stirring about listening to Native American drumming and singing in any environment.

But when the rhythmic drumbeats, echoed by footfalls, reverberate through the wooded environs of Naper Settlement on an early autumn day, the partnership between celebrants and nature creates a special occasion.

"It's all the better in a natural, outdoor setting," said David Nordin, an advisory board member at Midwest SOARRING, the nonprofit organization that will present the 24th annual Harvest Pow Wow this Saturday and Sunday on the settlement grounds at 523 S. Webster St. in downtown Naperville.

Nordin said he's often attended the Harvest Pow Wow and is always awed by the Grand Entry, a ceremonial dance featuring Native Americans wearing tribal regalia.

"The formal parade event begins the Pow Wow and is a very inspiring event," he said. "You see all of the dancers, all of the children, all of the elders."

The entry, scheduled for 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, includes a special ceremony honoring American military veterans.

Intended to give participants a chance to gather, visit, celebrate, renew friendships and forge new ones, the Pow Wow also is a way to introduce people to Native American culture.

Nordin said a display of raptors, including an American eagle, will be provided by Save Our American Raptors, a nonprofit concerned with protecting birds of prey.

"To see one a few feet away from you and to look him in the eye, no child of any age would ever forget," Nordin said.

"We are bringing back the pan flutists," said Janet Sevilla, vice president of operations for Midwest SOARRING. Musical performances will be featured both days.

There also will be drumming and dancing, food and craft vendors, and a golden palomino horse at the festival.

In the Kids Corner, open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, storyteller Myles Goddard, an 83-year-old retired teacher, will tell tales that illuminate Native American tradition and history.

"He is a well-respected, well-known elder of the Ojibwe," said Nordin of Goddard. "He's a true reservoir of tribal knowledge."

Goddard said he enjoys relating the stories of his ancestors to the young.

"It's a really fun event for families and children," Goddard said.

The Kids Corner also offers a chance to visit a tepee, try craft projects and check out displays of an Ojibwe birchbark long nose canoe and an Algonquin vertical nose canoe.

On Saturday, the Joliet Archery Club will demonstrate their sport.

Visitors can watch and learn how Native Americans have used a craft called flintknapping to make arrowheads.

"That's a very important native skill," said Nordin. "Flint is a kind of rock that's harder than steel. It flakes off when struck with a deer antler. This way, it's possible to create very beautiful, symmetrical projectile points."

Nordin said the Harvest Pow Wow is a window into Native American culture.

"It's really kind of a short cultural immersion experience," he said. "It's an experience not to be forgotten."

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