Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Pow Wows Promote Culture and Healthy Living

The Healthy Living Pow Wow was held last week at the Crandon and Wabeno high schools. Kimberlee Soldier was one the organizers, and shared her thoughts on these very special events.

“I became involved with this event shortly after I became a Tribal AmeriCorps member in 2016. The partners with the Community Coalition of Forest County and the Mole Lake Coalition were looking for ways to promote healthy living with tradition and heritage, as we believe culture is prevention. One of those ways is our community pow wows. So, why not throw in some education on our Native American heritage while we’re at it? So that’s what we did.”

The Pow Wows welcomed students of all ages, and a great deal of planning was done in advance of the events.

“In 2016, Rachel Vodar helped me get in contact with Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company and we invited them to join us for two years in a row. This year we wanted to showcase more of our heritage as Native Americans. As a coalition, we asked Sonny Smart if he would join us by speaking to our youth and sharing his knowledge. Yvette McGeshick, a coalition member, contacted Sonny, and Artie VanZile, also a coalition member, contacted Fire Nation to see if they would honor us by drumming and singing. Artie also contacted some adults and youth within our Sokaogon community and the Forest County Potawatomi Community to see if they would join in dancing for the students at the schools. I talked with Dean VanZile to see if he and other SCC Veterans would also join us.

“It really turned out to be a great two days. We all worked together to pull it off, I didn’t do this all alone,” Kimberlee continued.

There is an immeasurable commitment of time and energy to host these events. Kimberlee sees it as motivational.
“My motivation for working so hard in the community are my three children and my granddaughter. I have struggles with being dependent on alcohol and drugs and have seen first-hand the negative impact it has on my family and families in our community. People change and can become a positive force for others and help them to overcome the same struggles. When one member struggles, we all struggle. It takes community togetherness to help one another heal the mind, body and soul in mending the damages that are caused by substance abuse.
“It’s important for me to teach my kids that. It’s important for me to have them see that hard work and dedication is rewarding. No matter if it’s volunteering in the community or working for your place of employment. Stick to your guns and do the best that you can do. It’s also fun for me! I really enjoy doing what I do!”

Grand Entry at Crandon High School

“Being part of the Healthy Living Pow Wow and organizing this event with the help of both Coalitions has not only been an honor, but an important beginning on my road to sobriety and recovery. It’s important to me because I truly believe that culture is prevention. I believe that families need to experience positive healthy living lifestyles and I believe in giving back to my family and the families in my community. I love watching the life and energy of our pow wow families when we come together. It’s really beautiful.”

Chi Miigwech to everyone who organized and participated in the Healthy Living Pow Wows.