In response to my post on the forced march of the Potawatomi in 1838, a member of the Pokagon Band, a federally recognized tribe in Michigan, who identifies himself on line as "Pokagon Member" posted the following comment:
bohzo (hello)He calls his blog "Native American Bode'wadmi: Pokagon Times" ... it is available at http://pokagon.blogspot.com/ and it offers a variety of information about the nine tribes of Potawatomi people that are now recognized by the governments of the United States and Canada.
I have and maintain a news site for the Potawatomi that might intrest you if you are looking for things regarding the "Trail of death."
Megwetch (Thank You)
So, David, if you happen to read this: Megwetch! I learned a lot from your website, and I think (hope!) my students will too.
We'll surf the website to get a feel for the variety of issues it treats, including boarding schools where Native students all too often were "educated" away from their heritage, and watch a video clip of a pow wow - a traditional dance contest - hosted last year by the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Nation in Kansas (descended from the people who went through Springfield in the 1830s). If time permits, there's also an interesting 10-minute clip that explains how traditional Potawatomi youth workers teach children to make good life decisions about things like alcohol, sex and HIV in a decidedly non-traditional world.
Pow wows, the dance contests, are an important form of cultural expression for many Native Americans today. And the Pokagon Times blog's clip offers us a good introduction to them. Wisconsin's Forest County Potawatomi, another federally recognized band, have an excellent explanation of pow wows on their website. And we'll watch a very brief clip of the grand entry and veterans' fight song at a smaller 2007 Potawatomi Gathering pow wow in Forest County.
We will also look at the official website of the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi people and follow the link to the pages on their history and culture. When we look at the history of an Indian Nation, it's always a good idea to look at today's website and see what they're like today.
We can get a brief glimpse from three clips from YouTube.
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation - Pow wow 2009 at Prairie Peoples Park (the rest of the Grand entry that was featured on Pokagon Member's blog). Following the vets are competitive dancers in Native regalia. Watch for the variety of costumes and dance steps as the elders, men's traditional and grass dancers, fancy dancers, women's traditional and jingle dancers (whose dresses are lined with jingles traditionally made of snuff cans), followed by more veterans, elders, spectators, children and a few guests of the dancers. The pow wow is a community event, and a dance like this in which everybody takes part is called an intertribal.
In the second, a "drum" called Midnite Express performs an Intertribal song at the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation powwow 2009. The singers gather around the drum and beat in unison. Note the dancers in the arena in the background.
In the third clip, the Prairie Band Powwow Men's Traditional Contest is shown briefly. Note the elaborate regalia and stylized dance steps.