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Cultural Celebration

Sarah Cummins

10/11/2001 12:00:00 AM

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Observer photos/Sarah Cummins

Pictured above, traditional dancer Moccasin Joe Plain, left, and head male dancer Wayne Cleland celebrate Native American traditions at the 13th Annual Central Michigan University Powwow which took place Oct. 6 and 7. Pictured left, Chuck Butzin also traditional dances at this event of about 100 dancers, 40 vendors and six drums. Winnay Wemigwase was head female dancer with George Martin and Dorothy Dale as head veteran dancers. Masters of ceremony were Helen Roy and Thurman Bear. Punkin and Dave Shananaquet acted as head dance judges, and Steve Pego served as arena director. The host drum for this event was Blue Lake with High Spirit Singers as co-host. "The contests and events are fun," said Todd Williamson, CMU Native American Programs associate director. "I think people especially enjoyed the switch dance we had Saturday night. People were doubled over with laughter." The theme for this year's event "Minowendaa-gozidaa-Let's Have Fun" was remembered in much of the planning for the event. Some activities, included an Indian car contest, fry bread eating contest, "Heavy D" contest for the drummers and the best Indian jokes. Along with a switch dance, participants enjoyed a snake dance, and a two-step competition was added to the event in honor of Saginaw Chippewa Tribal member Lee Ruffino who designed the 2001 powwow's logo. "This was the first CMU powwow that was held in the fall," explained Lisa Tiger, CMU Native American Programs director. "At this time of year, people from this area aren't running from powwow to powwow every weekend, so I think they had the chance to rest up and build up their excitement. There was a real atmosphere of fun all weekend."