Lebanon’s 36th Annual Traditional Powwow

by Larry P. Madden

The American Indian Council (A.I.C.) of Indiana and Kentucky works hard to promote Native American Indian issues. This August, with the very talented Medicine Bear Drum and Little Thunder as co-hosts, the 36th Annual Traditional Powwow went off well. In a state named for the Land of the Indians, signs of modern Natives are apparent to those who’re looking for them.dancers at pow-wow

Home of the Maumee or Miami Indians, these eastern plains dwellers lived on the bounty of the land. Later, as Indians were pushed west into what was promised to be Indian land forever by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, tribes like the Miami would share and surrender land to Algonquin Indians looking for a new home. One piece of history states that the mother of noted Chieftain of the Miami – Little Turtle – was a Mohican from the east. This ties in with the Stockbridge-Munsee history of promised lands in Indiana, in the White River area. Upon arrival the Mohicans found the land had been stolen and sold by land speculators.

I knew from personal observation that there weren’t any Indian reservations in Indiana or Illinois. So a chance to dance and interact with Indians from the area intrigued me. When the chance arrived for me to travel with the Medicine Bear Drum, I jumped at it. What I did not expect were the numbers of Southwestern Indians I would encounter.

The gathering was bolstered by a strong vendor community and hardworking A.I.C. members, the event went off without a hitch. Event organizer Ms. Sally Tuttle and Arena Director Aaron Stevens have a strong vision of what they expect and want. This vision transfers into a well run powwow. Careful explanation of ceremonial procedures and crowd participation events made this a fun and well organized event. Emcee Mr. Roger Campbell and Head Dancers Mr. Ron Preston and Ms. Emma Careful all took their jobs by the horns and performed above expectations. Both Campbell and Preston exhibited excellent oratory skills that held the crowd’s attention with the stories they shared.

The A.I.C. sponsored a feast on Saturday in the community building on the Boone County Fairgrounds. The tasty food and air-conditioned building helped revive this ole’ Dancer’s trick moves for the Saturday evening session. The intense fervor of the speech by Ms. Tuttle on the purpose of the A.I.C. commitment was palpable to anyone listening. This hardworking woman who speaks for the Indians of Indiana and Kentucky wore her heart on her sleeve as she explained her mission statement. She wasn’t the only one with passion at this event however. Two brothers, well into their 70s and both Veterans, braved the heat to dance together again at their annual event.

This powwow is not the biggest around, unless you factor in the heart they put into it. People keeping community alive, keeping Indian ways alive while surrounded by majority culture, they hang onto their stories and traditions in the land of Indians.

Larry P. Madden (Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Wisconsin) was born and raised in the Sturgeon Bay area. A recent graduate of CMN, he enjoys the Powwow trail and strives to maintain balance on the red road.