Rain can’t stop annual KBIC pow wow

BARAGA – Continual rains caused delays at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s Mawanji’iding – or pow wow – and eventually its relocation. But things still went well overall, an organizer said.

“I think for the weather and what we had, it went very good,” Gary Loonsfoot said. “With the weather we really got thrown a big curve ball. The committee basically had two choices Saturday afternoon, and that was to cancel or move, and we ended up moving the pow wow.”

The pow wow was moved to Meadowbrook Arena in L’Anse. Thanks to quick staff work, the transition only pushed back the grand entry by an hour, Loonsfoot said.

“It worked out pretty good,” he said. “We had plenty of space. it was just a little cramped at the doors.”

In addition to the Grand Entry, events included a fry bread contest, drum challenge and traditional teachings.

Before the rains came, events were proceeding as usual, although with minor delays to ensure dancers wouldn’t slip on muddy ground.

Felicia Van Dyke of Baraga has been dancing at the annual pow wow since she was 2 years old. Her sky-blue regalia for the fancy shawl dance represents the butterfly – “open and free,” Van Dyke said.

“It’s my culture,” she said. “I love it. I like doing it. I teach all my nieces and nephews, be a good role model. Teach them about their heritage.”

While dancing is her favorite part of the pow wow, Van Dyke said she also enjoys the social aspect of it.

“I love all the community getting together, different tribes,” she said.

Brian Malinowski, a member of the Hannahville Indian Community, said pow wows help keep their cultural tradition strong. He comes to the KBIC’s each year.

“The community has always been good to us,” he said.