Happy New Year!
I am looking forward to 2018 and all of the possibilities it holds. Looking back on 2017, there were some significant challenges for the Nation and me personally, but overall, it was a good year.
The tribe is putting lots of effort into improving the Cultural Heritage Center, preserving and fostering Potawatomi language and respectfully rebuilding various traditions. One of the tangible changes occurring due to these efforts is the emphasis on regalia and traditional dress in the dance circle at the Family Festival.
This year, we will be gathering together June 29-July 1 at the Nation’s Shawnee, Oklahoma, headquarters. Among the weekend’s event is dancing, which takes place Saturday evening. Years ago, very few members were dressed in traditional clothes, and tribal leadership has been encouraging members each year to buy or build their own regalia for the dance circle.
At the Family Festival in 2017, there was a major emphasis on this — in fact, a dress code was more or less enforced. For 2018, please assume that each participant should be dressed in traditional or respectful clothing, regardless of the temperature.
What does this mean?
Shoes: Both men and women are expected to wear closed-toe shoes; moccasins would be perfect.
Pants: Men and women should cover their legs. (Do not wear shorts.) Women can wear long skirts, tear dresses or leggings.
Shirts and blouses: Men and women should cover their arms — ribbon shirts, vests with traditional woodland patterns and/or long-sleeve shirts. Women with bare arms can accessorize with a shawl.
Ways to get ready
I bring this topic up in January so that everyone has plenty of time to plan. Some festival activities focus on creating regalia, and there are plenty of folks around the Cultural Heritage Center who can help. Additionally, there are vendors on festival grounds selling shirts, skirts, shawls, etc. in a variety of price ranges. Citizen Potawatomi Gift Shop, located inside the Cultural Heritage Center, has even more shopping opportunities.
The internet is a great place to buy items to augment your regalia or find items like ribbon shirts. Do e-commerce carefully by buying from trusted vendors with reliable payment services like PayPal.
While planning what to wear, think about where to stay and book early. Grand Casino Hotel Resort (a CPN enterprise) is a great choice, and it offers special tribal member rates during the festival. If you stay there, shuttle transportation to the festival fairgrounds is provided.
It is my pleasure to serve you in our legislature. Please feel free to contact me if I can assist you.