The 2024 Family Reunion Festival is a great time for catching up with old friends or meeting new ones, and one way to do that is entering the many contests happening over the weekend. From traditional hand games to art contests, archery and more, see a list of events below.

Hand games

Hand games is a traditional Potawatomi game that goes back generations. The traditional hand games competition will be Friday night. The family competition sometimes has more than 100 participants broken into groups of seven.

Each team of seven has one captain, one picker and two hiders. The two hiders each hold a colored bead in their hands, which they pass back and forth behind their backs as another team’s picker attempts to guess where the beads are. The hiders must stay in the circles painted on the ground but can still use tactics such as dancing and singing to distract the pickers.

Once the judge calls for hands forward, the picker uses a stick to indicate one of four guesses for the location of the beads. If they guess correctly, their team gets a point. If they do not guess correctly, the other team gets a turn.

The winning team will receive $100 for each of the seven team members.

At the beginning of the game, each team’s flag will be sold at auction. The winning team will also receive 25 percent from the auction, with the remaining 75 percent going to the person who bought their flag.

Find more information about hand games on the Hownikan Podcast at

Art competitions

For Tribal members who enjoy the arts, there are competitions open for all ages and experience levels. Past entries in the art competitions have included mediums like painting, photography, sculpture and beadwork.

For those age 15 and younger, there are art contests available for four ages groups: age 5 and younger, ages 6-9, ages 10-12 and ages 13-15.

Each participant may enter one piece of art, and art can be submitted between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the South Reunion Hall. All pieces must have been created before Festival but within the past three years.

First, second and third place winners will receive a gift card.

There is also an art contest for Tribal members who are 16 and older, with separate categories for amateurs and for professionals.

The professional category is for artists who have been paid for the type of work they are entering, while the amateur category is for those who have never been paid to create work in the medium for which they are entering. Contestants can only enter one of the categories.

Submissions can include all types of modern and traditional art, and the art does not have to include Indigenous themes.

Professional artists can enter only one piece. First place is $300, and the winner will be selected by a vote of the Potawatomi people taken in the foyer of FireLake Arena.

Amateur artists can enter up to three pieces of art in two categories: photography/painting or other mediums. Winners of the amateur art contest will be selected by a professional artist, and prizes are $300 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third place.

Registration for adult art contests is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at FireLake Arena. All entries must be the work of the artist without any assistance.

All prize winners will be announced during General Council, where the prize money will be awarded. All entries must be picked up by the end of General Council.

Dance competition

During the powwow, there will be group, social and competitive dances. Competitive dance categories will include men’s traditional, women’s traditional and women’s fancy shawl/jingle dress.

When dressing for the dances, women should have legs covered by ankle-length skirts and should carry a shawl and wear a shirt that covers the shoulders. Slacks and a ribbon shirt are appropriate for men to wear. Everyone should wear close-toed shoes.

Find more information about powwow etiquette at

Other competitions

Other competitions open to Tribal members will include fry bread making, softball, golf, volleyball, dominos, checkers, chess, three-on-three basketball, archery and horseshoes. Contests for children include a coloring contest, chess and checkers tournament, and youth softball throwing.

Because of construction at the FireLake Ball Fields, there will be no fishing competition this year. However, new activities will include lacrosse and a stick ball skills challenge.

For some of those competitions, prizes can range from $100 for first-place individuals to $1,100 for first-place teams.

Look for more details in the Festival registration packet, or learn more about Festival at