The 41st Annual Mohican Powwow

by Larry P. Madden

The nearly weekly rains throughout the summer of 2017 relented long enough for a pleasant August weekend. It was perfect weather for the Mohican Powwow to shine. The 41st annual running of this event, known as the Mohican Veterans’ Powwow in the past, was the holiday getaway of the summer for many. It’s an annual time to gather as many Mohicans return home to a gathering that’s welcoming to all.mohican pow-wow

There’s something about the anticipation one feels when touring the grounds before the event begins. Of course, it’s natural to take pride in the well-groomed and managed powwow arena lying prepped and ready: to see the campsites fill and the vendors arrange their goods to attract customers like bees to flowers, to breathe in the smells of good food filling the grounds as a pleasant breeze wafts the sweet odor of side pork on the air. It’s awesome to see all the ducks are in a row for a great powwow on one’s home turf.

I watched as the vibrant colors began to appear as dancers of every style prepared for the opening ceremonies. Head Veteran Dancer Mr. Wes Martin hustled by en route to some duties to ensure a seamless start to the event. The Mohican Veterans Organization, under the guidance of Commander Robert “Bob” Little, was a well-oiled cohesive unit. It’s always a day brightener to encounter this dedicated and proud group of men and women—even if it’s just to say, “Hey,” and shake some hands to thank them for their service to the nation.

For the event itself, Mr. Josh Homming, from the Sault band of the Chippewa, handled the master of ceremonies duties. Mr. Bradley Granquist, a young man from the Oneida Nation, took charge of the Arena Director’s responsibilities and did an admirable job. The always beautiful Ms. Princess Vele and debonair Mr. Lenny Welch led the way as Head Dancers for the event.

Rest assured, the singers and drummers were in no short supply. Co-host drums L.C.O. Badger Singers and a far-traveled group by the name of Young Spirit from Frog Lake, Alberta, Canada handled the Honor Songs and more. Old favorites like Wolf River, Eagle Singers, Wind Eagle, and Puzzle Hill among others filled out the roster and never missed a beat.

Set deep in the woods on the Mohiigunuck Reserve near Bowler, Wisconsin, in a very comfortable arena with welcoming people, the Mohican powwow during the second weekend in August is a true Indian experience. With campsites for rough camping to mobile homes to elegant hotel rooms at the North Star Casino, there’s a place for you. Take time to come and enjoy this tranquil, deep woods experience. You’ll find new friends even if you’re not looking.

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.