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Potawatomi Gathering Underway at Hannahville

HANNAHVILLE – Around 2,000 people are expected to turn out in the Hannahville Indian Community this week for the 2011 Potawatomi Gathering. The annual event, hosted this year by Hannahville, kicks off Wednesday, August 10 and runs through Saturday, August 13, according to organizers.

Gathering Coordinator Gloria Wandahsega said the event will be held at the Woodland Valley Gathering Grounds – with some festivities at the Island Resort and Casino. It will feature numerous activities throughout the four-day event. “We are expecting about 2,000 people to show up,” said Wandahsega, adding participants will be coming from nine different federally-recognized Potawatomi nations and tribes from across Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, lower Michigan, and Canada.

According to Wandahsega, the language conference, which will be held at the Island Resort and Casino, will feature fluent speakers of the Potawatomi language. The conference will host various workshops and activities using the language, including immersion sessions, information on etymology and homonyms, language learning games, and language picture descriptions, among others.

The casino will also host an all-Potawatomi Tribal Council meeting and economic development conference, but the majority of activities will be held at the gathering grounds.

Wandahsega said just some of the topics to be discussed in gathering workshops include: diabetic awareness, domestic violence, wooden spoon making, basket making, erecting a lodge/tipi, potato bag making, flute making, pillow case making and an introduction to bead making, in addition to others.

Other activities include a golf tournament at Sweetgrass Golf Course on Thursday at 10 a.m., tours of Hannahville from 9 to 11 a.m., a Pow Wow Comedy Jam for ages 18 and over in the Casino Showroom Thursday night at 8 p.m., and a youth dance for teens ages 13 to 17 at the Hannahville Youth Center from 8 to 11 p.m.

On Friday there will be a volleyball tournament at 10 a.m., Hannahville elders bingo at the western pavilion from 1 to 3 p.m., tours of the Potawatomi Heritage Center from 1 to 4 p.m., and a talent show from 4 to 6 p.m., as well as the Pow Wow Grand Entry at 7 p.m., which will feature a Parade of Nations and a Miss Potawatomi competition.

Saturday will begin with a 5K run/walk at 9 a.m., a three-on-three basketball tournament at 10 a.m., and a traditional feast in the evening at the gathering grounds’ pavilion from 4 to 6 p.m.

The night will end with the Pow Wow Grand Entry at 6 p.m., where the winner of the 2011-12 Miss Potawatomi contest will be crowned. There will also be some giveaways and the transfer of staff to next year’s host: Nottawaseppi Band of Huron Potawatomi. The evening will close with a fireworks show at the Gathering Grounds from 10:30 to 11 p.m.

A youth tent will open each day at 9 a.m. with activities including a cribbage tournament, chess tournament, youth story hour with projects, beading area, board game/trivia area, Potawatomi language corner, warrior games, and movie night.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.hannahville.net or contact Gathering Coordinator Gloria Wandahsega at 906-723-2624.