Veterans society names first brave

Photo provided by Rodney Loonsfoot Rodney Loonsfoot ties an special headpiece to Machai Loonsfoot’s head as (left to right) Ralph Eckerberg and Joe Dowd watch. Machai was honored as first brave for the Wiikwedong Ogichidaa Society, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s veterans honor guard.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) veterans honor guard, the Wiikwedong Ogichidaa Society, honored its first brave at the winter powwow on Saturday.

Machai Loonsfoot was presented with special pieces of regalia before the first grand entry of the day so that he could officially enter as the society’s brave in an advanced position in the group.

“That kind of kicked off the powwow,” Rodney Loonsfoot said.

Loonsfoot is both Machai’s father and the adjutant, or administrator, for the Wiikwedong Ogichidaa Society.

Selection of the brave will be advertised and occur annually before the winter powwow in the future, Loonsfoot said.

Machai was selected by the board unanimously this year.

“He has already done so much for us,” Loonsfoot said.

During the powwow, there was a special song honoring Machai, as well as another song for kids that could be selected for the honor next year.

Machai danced with them, and they were rewarded with $1 and some candy afterward as encouragement to participate.

Loonsfoot said around 30 kids participated, with and without regalia.

A memorial song for Harlan Downwind, a traditional healer for the KBIC who died in 2017, was also performed at the powwow.

“It was a loss to community when he passed,” Loonsfoot said.

Downwind’s family was in attendance at the powwow.