145th Annual Homecoming Celebration, which runs from July 28 through
31, is celebrated as the oldest continuous memorial pow wow in Indian
new this year is that the ceremonies will be streaming live on the
radio (www.live365.com from Little Priest Tribal College) from the
time the observance starts with raising the veterans flag
at 6 a.m., Thursday in Veterans Memorial Park, US 75, east of Winnebago,
play a unique role in the history of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
(Ho-Chunk Nation). The 145th Annual Homecoming Celebration commemorates
the return of Chief Little Priest and the Fort Omaha Scouts, Company
A, 34th Nebraska Volunteers, of the tribe. It also honors all of
the tribes veterans and servicepeople, past and present.
four-day pow wow features traditional songs and dances and traditional
food. Open to the public, it draws 20 to 25 drum groups, and 500
to 700 dancers from all over the country, said Claudine E. Farmer,
Communications/Public Relations for the tribe.
July of 1866, the Winnebago people have held the pow wow to honor
their last great War Chief. Little Priests actions resulted
in a permanent home for the people, who had suffered forced moves
time after time due to American settlement and government interference.
blood that he spilled is the reason we are still on the reservation
today, writes Tribal Historian David Tim Smith,
who is a UCLA graduate and Director of Indian Studies at Little
Priest Tribal College.
one of the forced moves in 1863, when the Winnebago were shipped
down the Mississippi and up the Missouri rivers, Little Priest ordered
two men to fall off the boat and swim to the Omaha tribe and ask
if the Winnebagos could buy some land in the northern part of the
Omahas territory, in Nebraska. The Omahas granted the request
but meanwhile many of the Winnebagos who had just been moved
to Fort Thompson were dying in harsh conditions.
Army General Alfred Sully made an agreement with Little Priest.
If the war chief would help him against the Western Sioux, then
he would use his influence to help relocate the Winnebago to Nebraska,
Smiths research recounts.
Priest knew it was wrong to fight against his own brothers,
says the history detailed on the tribes web site, but
in order to save his people, he joined General Alfred Sully.
was finally wounded in 1866 outside of Deer Creek Fort in Wyoming
by a band of Oglala Lakota and some Northern Cheyenne warriors.
His horse was shot out from under him, but he is said to have fought
for hours more, holding his ground as a grizzly bear would. His
wounds proved fatal after he was taken home to the newly bought
Winnebago Reservation. He died on Sept. 12, 1866.
history inspired another native son to write a book that was published
in October 2010. Alan Walker is the great-great gandson of William
Hatchett, one of the original 75 warriors who volunteered to scout
for the U.S. Army in 1863. Every Warrior Has His Own Song concludes
with Walkers own service as a Marine in the Vietnam War.
2011 pow wow honors one of the tribes servicemen who is retiring
after 22 years in the Air Force, Technical Sergeant Jay Kyle Jacobs.
pow wow is about honoring our veterans and also entertaining them,
too, added Jerome LaPointe, Sr., editor of Winnebago Indian
News. Certain dances and programs hopefully will put a smile
on the faces of our veterans.
Man Dancer is John Hunter, Jr., a member of the Eagle Clan. Head
Woman Dancer is Thelma Chickie Whitewater, a descendant
of Whitewolf, who served in Company A.
dance for those who have passed on and those who are unable to dance,
she said. I pray while I am in the arena, because I believe
the pow wow arena is a place of healing.
tribal member Benny Eagle, it certainly will be. Eagle, 72, has
danced in the pow wow since he was seven years old. He had open
heart surgery last October 4, but two weeks before this pow wow,
he was cleared by doctors to dance.
should have heard me hollering around in that hospital I
was war whooping, Eagle described getting the good news.
a healing process for me when I get into the circle. Once I do that,