Share This:

Volunteers give annual powwow necessary community connection

Sarah Cummins

7/16/2001 12:00:00 AM

Volunteers are needed to nurture the land Saginaw Chippewa Tribal community members have gathered on for generations.

"Powwow is about volunteering," stated Mary Perez, 17th Annual Little Elk's Retreat Powwow Committee chairperson. "We always need them every year. Volunteering is a good way to give back to the community, because it's a community gathering. People help out to run it; it's not just for one person."

The 17th Annual Little Elk's Retreat Powwow is slated for Aug. 3 to 5 at the Tribal Campgrounds. Grand Entry times will be 7 p.m. on Friday, noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. There is no admission fee.

An arbor is traditionally erected for the event, and committee members are looking for volunteers to help with this task. Assistance will also especially be needed at the powwow for clean up.

"We need to keep it clean, because it's a historical site," Perez stated. "Our ancestors sat on that ground and had picnics. That's where they gathered. That's why we like to keep the powwow up there, because that's where people gathered for church and powwow and there weren't any clashes."

Perez said one volunteer she would like to especially thank is Eric Sowmick. She said his enthusiasm and sincerity are very inspiring.

Several contests also take place at the powwow including drum, dance and princess competitions. The first place winners for the drum contest will receive $6,000 with five other places paying. In the dance competition, the first place winners in adult, teen, youth and golden age divisions will also receive monetary rewards.

Competitions will take place for the positions of Junior Miss Saginaw Ojibwe Princess and Miss Three Fires Princess. These contests have some of the same requirements for competitors. Contestants for both positions must have a knowledge of Tribal traditions, have never been married and have no children.

To qualify for the Junior Miss Saginaw Ojibwe Princess contest, the youth must be between the ages of 8 and 17, be a Saginaw Chippewa Tribal member and be able to verify their Tribal affiliation.

Competitors for the Miss Three Fires contest must be between the ages of 14 and 17, belong to a federally recognized Indian Tribe and be able to verify Tribal affiliation.

The application deadline for both competitions is Aug. 3. The contestants are judged with a point system based on a private interview, dance competition and regalia.

The powwow is an alcohol and drug free event with no pets allowed. The powwow committee is not responsible for theft or injury.

For more information, call Perez at (989) 775-4072, (989) 773-9715 or call Darcy Sprague at (989) 775-4622.