Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow: An Authentic Native American Experience

Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow:  An Authentic Native American Experience
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Southern Illinois Saluki Pow-wow: The Native American Student Organization and Carbondale Main Street Bring Indian Culture to Carbondale

Who: Native American Student Organization
What: Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow
When: 2012-04-13 - 2012-04-14
The Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow will bring Native American culture to the region Friday, April
Brian Wilson

The Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow will bring Native American culture to the region Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14 at the SIU Recreation Center.

This event brings together Native American dancers, musicians, and artists from across the country for two days of music and activities.

“It’s going to be a fluid, entertaining, cultural experience that you can’t get in a lot of places, particularly in this region,” Pow Wow coordinator Nichole Boyd (who comes from Blackfoot and Comanche ancestry) says. “Not just Southern Illinois, but Southeastern Missouri, Southwestern Kentucky, and Tennessee. There’s not a lot of Natives. There’s particularly no pow wows that are done at this culturally authentic level.”

Several booths will feature cultural demonstrations like basket-weaving, beadwork, pottery, featherwork, and other forms of Native American artwork.

Authentic Native American foods will be available, including elote (a way of grilling corn on the cob), Indian tacos, and various types of stew.

Family friendly attractions will include an interactive Native village featuring tee-pees, wigwams, corn-grinders, traps, hides, clothing, and other tools and items that would have been used by different Native American peoples. Several experts on site will answer questions about how those items were used, and any of the items can be touched.

“It’s truly hands-on,” Boyd says. “A lot of times you get in to these reconstructed villages and you can’t touch anything.”

There will also be a kid’s activity area run by the Science Center of Southern Illinois. Children may participate in educational activities and learn about the petroglyphs found in Southern Illinois.

“We would pick through designs and also be able to teach kids about those designs, have them paint them on rocks, and give the parents maps to go find them down here,” Boyd says. “That would encourage not only tourism throughout Southern Illinois, but also educating people about stuff locally.”

Another activity will involve learning about animal tracks.

“That will be kind of tied into our men’s traditional dance category,” Boyd says. “A lot of times what they do is they’ll represent a hunt, and they will mock as if they are tracking an animal. That’s what those dancers are supposed to represent.”

The main feature of the pow wow will be the dancers and drummers, many of them world-renowned.

The dancers will include head man Wambli Charging Eagle (of the Lakota nation), head lady Shere Wright (another Lakota), and head veteran Mike Pamonicutt (of the Menominee nation).

The drumming groups will include Kinyaanii, Night Eagle Singers, and Warclub, the latter featuring R.J. Smith. The host drum will be Chief Hill.

Leonard Malatare (whose heritage includes the Salish and Kootenai nations) will serve as emcee, and Mark La Roque (of the Ojibwe nation) as arena director.

Boyd says that in the end, this event is all about respecting Native American cultures and traditions.

“We’ve really, really pushed for education and a true, correct cultural experience,” she says.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, search for the event on Facebook.

who: Native American Student Organization

what: Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow

where: SIU Recreation Center

when: Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14