Honoring leaders: KBIC members celebrate their leadership and veterans during their Traditional Pow Wow

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s Cultural Committee honored the Tribal Council at it’s 14th Winter Traditional Pow Wow on Saturday at the Niiwin Akeaa Center.

The honoring was the beginning of an all-day event that featured, singing, dancing, colorful regalia, a feast, honoring of other community members, and lots of smiling faces.

There was a guest speaker, Mavis Mantila, who spoke of her time in Finland and the similarities between Finnish and native people before the council was introduced and presented their gifts.

The smiling council members gladly accepted their gifts and were excited about the recognition.

“Being a brand new elected council member, this was the first time being honored like that,” said council member and Veteran Service Officer, Rodney Loonsfoot. “I’ve been a part of honoring Tribal Council but to actually be honored was really something special.”

He said it’s a difficult position so it is nice to have the community recognize and honor their work by giving a small token.

The council received Pendleton blankets as their gifts of appreciation for their service and contributions.

“Pendleton’s are a really expensive gift to be given,” said Loonsfoot. “Not a lot of people get them all the time. When people have gifted them, it’s a real high honor.”

After the honoring of the council, there was a break before the Grand Entry, which recognized veterans. The veterans being honored held the service, community and national flags, and they were celebrated alongside the committee members, council members and dancers.

Others who were honored later during the day were elders, cancer survivors and a memorial dance for the Beartown Firefighters in the evening.

The room was filled with many people, from toddlers on up, all dressed in traditional wear to dance and celebrate.

“There’s lots of good energy,” said Cultural Committee member Lisa Denomie. “It’s a wonderful gathering to see friends and family within the community.”

Denomie was excited to see everyone come together, and felt it was important to have this event to keep the tradition alive. Loonsfoot also agreed with the importance of keeping the tradition alive.

“We do our very best to try to follow direction and spiritual guidance through our teachings,” said Loonsfoot. “We try to serve as role models and examples for our families, our children and community, so in 10-15 years they can pass it on.”