Return of Pow Wow brings togetherness, tradition for campus and community

UW-Green Bay Pow WowFor UW-Green Bay senior Luanne Funmaker, a Pow Wow is all about a sense of togetherness.

The Psychology and First Nations Studies major, who is Oneida and Ho-Chunk, grew up attending Pow Wows and is eager to share the experience with attendees both veteran and new. She’ll get that chance on Saturday, April 14, when UW-Green Bay revives its community Pow Wow, a popular tradition now returning after a several-year hiatus.

“For me, it really means a sense of community, for not only the UWGB campus, but also the surrounding communities,” Funmaker said. “Some people look at it as a ceremony, some people look at it as a gathering — so in the end, it really reminds me of community, and bringing together the surrounding tribes.”

UW-Green Bay Pow Wow

The 2012 UW-Green Bay Pow Wow, with its theme of “Honoring the Ones Who Came Before Us,” will take place from 1-9 p.m. April 14 at the Kress Events Center on campus. Grand Entries — “by far the best time to come to a Pow Wow,” Funmaker says — are scheduled for 1 and 7 p.m.

Funmaker, a member of the UW-Green Bay Intertribal Student Council and part of the Pow Wow planning committee, said the group is thrilled to be welcoming popular Host Drum Bear Creek. Other invited drums include Smokeytown, Young Firekeepers, Ho-Chunk Station and Chief Hill.

UW-Green Bay Pow Wow“The Host Drum that we’re bringing in is pretty well known — they’re Bear Creek,” Funmaker said. “So people from all around the country will be coming — they have a very good following, because people love their music.”

A Pow Wow feast featuring such traditional food as wild rice casserole and fry bread will be served from 5-5:30 p.m. at the nearby Mauthe Center, just across the parking lot from the Kress Center. The events are free and open to the public.

Planning for the Pow Wow’s return began last year, and the Intertribal Student Council has been working diligently to prepare for the large-scale event ever since. Committee members were new to the Pow Wow planning process, but the stress and uncertainty are turning to excitement as the event approaches, Funmaker said. In addition to the music, dancing and food, the UW-Green Bay Pow Wow will feature a variety of Native American vendors.

Organizers are encouraging anyone with an interest to attend the April 14 event, whether they’ve previously experienced a Pow Wow or not.

“It’s a great educational opportunity,” Funmaker said, “because a lot of nonnatives and a lot of students and faculty are going to be there that have never been to a Pow Wow before — some that have, some that have gone their entire lives. So it’s a really interesting opportunity for people.”

UW-Green Bay Pow Wow

It’s a similar message to the one Funmaker had for Jose Villa, a sophomore transfer student whom she recruited for the Intertribal Student Council and Pow Wow planning committee. Villa, who is Hispanic, said he hadn’t considered joining the groups — but Funmaker’s entreaty changed his mind. He hopes it will do likewise for potential Pow Wow attendees.

“The only thing that divides us,” she told him, “is a barrier that we didn’t put there.”

– The photos above are from archives, Pow Wow at Phoenix Sports Center, 2007

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