Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Ode’-imini-Giizis Powwow

By: Tina L. Van Zile

This was a record year for attendance (approximately 600 on Saturday) at the Powwow. We had 178 registered dancers, 10 drum groups, and a full circle of craft and food vendors
SmokeyTown was our Host Drum and as usual they did a fantastic job. Fire Nation and Old Milwaukee were our Invited Drums, as well as the hometown drum Swamp Creek Broz.
Our Head Dancers were Eric Mitchell and Waleli Frank, and this young couple did a great job. They sponsored a Jingle Dress special to show their appreciation for being our Head Dancers for the weekend.
Our Emcee was Joey Awonohopay, and he always does a great job because he engages the audience and shares a few teachings from what he has learned throughout his years of being an emcee.
Rick Van Zile returned this year as our Arena Director. This was hard for him in recent years because of his illness, but he managed to do a great job as well.
Our new Senior Ode’-imini-Giizis Powwow Princess is Kialei VanZile. We had no one sign up for Junior Princess, so Aarris Mikkelson is carrying the crown for another year.
We had three specials: Men’s Traditional, Adult Two Step and Junior Two Step. The winners of the Men’s Traditional:
Richard Gouge’ – 1st place
Nick Shepard – 2nd place
Pete Powless – 3rd place

                                     Men’s Traditional

                                    Junior Two Step

From Left – Adult Two Step 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Winners

I’m sorry that I didn’t get all the names from the Two Step Specials.
A very special Miigwech goes to all the men who worked tirelessly to rebuild the drum arbor and emcee stage. For me personally, I shed tears when I saw that the drum arbor was completely caved in from the heavy snowfall this past winter. The following is the list of men that contributed:
Walter Panick Leelyn Van Zile Jake McGeshick
Rick Van Zile Joe Kane Tommy Olds
Andrew Van Zile Jay Jameson Pete McGeshick, III
Carson Ackley Jim Buchanan Preston Krusensterna
Hopefully, I didn’t forget anyone, and if I did please accept my apologizes. I plan on cooking a traditional meal at my house to show them how much I personally appreciate all their hard work.
I would like to thank the following people for volunteering to help at the Powwow:
  • Pete McGeshick III and Ethan Thorbahn for being the Fire Keepers for the weekend.
  • Tashena Van Zile, Cheryl Marvin and Rachel Vodar for dancer registration.
  • Roger Maki for taking care of the mic for the drummers.
  • Cassandra Graikowski and Nick Van Zile for transporting the food for the feasts.
  • Vickie Ackley, Chris McGeshick, Carla Ruuskanen, Terica McConnell and Felicia Rachal for button sales.
  • Tashena Van Zile, Rachel Vodar, Felicia Rachal, Michelle Devine, Nick Van Zile and my Summer Youth Workers for serving people in the feast line.
  • Holden Monte for taking care of all the garbage and picking up litter around the Powwow grounds.
  • Virginia Poler, Nancy Kane and Maxine Trudeau for cooking for the two feasts. As always the food was delicious because it is made with love from these sisters.
  • Jaime Jameson, Carla Ruuskanen, Reggie Williams and Nellie Soldier for making all the buttons.
  • Wendy Thorbahn for helping in the office the week prior to the Powwow.
  • Nick Shepard for arranging to borrow chairs from the Potawatomi Rec Center.
  • Brian Garrow and Bill Cable for putting up the tent that we used for the Elderly seating section.
  • Nathan Podany, who worked with the Summer Youth Workers, to haul everything to and from the Powwow.
I would also like to thank the financial sponsors:
  • Vickie Ackley, Tribal Council
  • Bryan Tate, Mole Lake Casino
  • Chris McGeshick, Sokaogon Finance
  • Carla Ruuskanen, Family Services
  • Cheyenne Landru, NATOW
As with every year, I could not coordinate this Powwow without help from my four Summer Youth Workers: Sage Dalton – Crew Leader, Macy Poler, Hutson Kane and Serena Poler. These four worked so incredibly hard so that it made things easier on me. They never once complained, and were often thinking ahead and just getting things done without me even asking them. At the end of the Powwow, it was just me and my youth cleaning up, and the Poler sisters recruited their little brother Romeo to help us. I said to myself, “There is a future Environmental Summer Youth Worker.”
If I have forgotten anyone who volunteered in anyway, please accept my apologizes because it isn’t intentional, it’s just hard trying to remember everyone.
Chi-Miigwech to you all!
 View more photos on the Tribe’s Facebook page –