Our March 10 tour and lunch/business meeting at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), 520 16th St. N., in Birmingham, Alabama, starts with a 10 a.m. museum tour, moving on to a business meeting and then a barbecue lunch before ending at 2:30 p.m.
If you haven’t yet RSVP’d, please do so right away, either to my email address or toll-free number. If your plans have changed since the time you RSVPed, please let me know that too. BCRI is part of the National Park Service’s Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, which includes the site of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. It will be a memorable place for a CPN meeting, and the museum entrance fee and lunch costs will be covered by CPN.
NMAI Archives tour date
We now have a date for the next private tour of the Archives of the National Museum of the American Indian, in Suitland, Maryland — Oct. 5. (Oct. 8 is a federal holiday, so some of you might make a weekend out of it.) Up to 20 of us can tour the facility that afternoon. Starting at 12:30 p.m., we’ll have lunch before at the cafe in the museum complex. During the tour, we will view our Potawatomi beadwork, applique, weavings, household goods and more. I am accepting reservations on a rolling basis — please reserve your spot today by emailing or calling me.
Tenth annual District 2 contest
Reminder: For our 10th annual District 2 contest, I am asking for entries of your favorite recipes for fall feasts. Please include a note with the recipe relating (1) where you got the recipe (including if it’s original to you) and (2) the types of celebrations at which you serve the dish. I will print several of the entries in upcoming columns and draw randomly for a beautiful Pendleton blanket. I’ll also put the recipes together into a book that I’ll send out as a year-end gift. The contest deadline is April 15. You can email, mail or Facebook message me your entries. Multiple entries are welcome.
I just finished making and beading a pair of mkeznen (moccasins) for a friend’s birthday (they are shown in the photo) and found that making them for her was very meaningful to both of us. And, as I’ve written before, if I can do leatherwork and beading, so can you! I found an interesting source of cultural knowledge recently — the Pokagon Band blog Ggëkéndasmen, which means “We are learning.” This blog is dedicated to sharing the traditions we Potawatomi are bringing back, so we can learn from the past and be inspired for the future. The address is www.pokagon.com/ggëkéndasmen.
Here’s what the Pokagon blogger says about moccasins:
Stitched in Culture
Moccasins were once the staple footwear of Native Americans, adorning the feet of warriors, mothers and children alike.
We still wear moccasins, often making them ourselves. Today we can also buy them in stores, giving our feet a padded taste of what the walking of our ancestors was like.
Each tribe had their own distinct way of making moccasins. In fact, you could once know exactly which tribe a person was from simply by looking at their feet.
The two types of Potawatomi moccasins are the stitched and the pucker-toe. The stitched brings the material together in a circle on the top. The pucker-toe (shown above) is sewn up the middle and has flaps on both sides. It gets its name from the leather that puckers in the front, caused by its stitching.
On the back of every moccasin is a flap that looks like a hoof to pay homage to the deer sacrificed to make the shoe.
Every Native American should have two pairs of moccasins. The first being everyday moccasins, which are plain cloth, and the second being ceremonial moccasins, which have beading and other elaborate designs for special occasions.
To learn more about our Potawatomi culture, I urge you to visit the Ggëkéndasmen blog, along with our Cultural Heritage Center website at potawatomiheritage.com, and share these resources with family. A YouTube video guide to making our traditional pucker-toe moccasins is here: youtube.com/watch?v=stsyNfWdPXc.
Migwetch (thank you) for the honor of representing you. I am always happy to hear from you!