Indigenous people celebrate their heritage at the GVSU powwow

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Donald Gann of Grand Rapids and the Grand Traverse Band Ottawa at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“It’s important for me, for my health and well-being, for my sobriety, to demonstrate that we are still a worthy part of this region,” Gann said. “This region where my grandparents came from and where I come from … we are a loving, generous, hardworking and productive part of … we are still here”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

The rally was hosted by the Native American Student Association of GVSU and featured Native American music, dance, and arts and crafts. MLive was on hand to take portraits of some of the attendees and asked everyone what the powwow meant to them.

Name-named Vyana of Grand Rapids and the Wyandot and Seneca Tribes during the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life Pow Wow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“I come as a healer to work with people who are suffering and to honor people who are happy,” Vyana said.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Russ Blackbird from Bkejwanong, Ontario, and the Odawa and Oneida tribes at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“The powwow is a celebration of life, it’s a celebration of song and dance, it’s a gift we give to each other,” said Blackbird.

Mike clark

Steve Perry of Traverse City at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“It’s an opportunity for the younger ones to learn the old traditions and for the older people to celebrate the traditions,” said Perry. “It’s a way to show kids that they’re proud of who they are.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Annabelle Wilson, 5, of Grand Rapids and the Ojibwe Tribe during the traditional Celebrate All Acrosses powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“I love to dance,” Wilson said.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Jessica Foster with her daughter Chenoa Foster, 3, of Vicksburg and the Cherokee Tribe during the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life Pow Wow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“This is important to me because I have always grown my whole life knowing that I was native but didn’t learn any culture and I really want my kids to learn the culture and be proud of who they are” , said Jessica Foster.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Sandy Richardson of Jackson and the Lakota and Hopi tribes at the traditional Celebrate All Acrosses powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“A lot of people think the powwow is just a social gathering and that’s it,” said Richardson, “but in our circle over there it’s a sacred area and we’ll pray there. for the things we have to happen in that year. “

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Mijiikwis Wabanimkee, 14, of Portage and the Grand Traverse Band of Odawa and Ojibwe and Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“It shows that I am native and represent the culture and represent myself as part of the culture,” Wabanimkee said. “It’s also a lot of fun.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Angelo Franchi of Grand Rapids and the Grand Traverse Band at the traditional Celebrate All Across powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“The powwow itself is kind of a celebration, to get together with all of my friends and family,” Franchi said. “It also gives me a chance to dance for people who can’t be here, for those who have walked on it or those who are sick or those who couldn’t make the trip here.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Doreece Mandoka from Battle Creek and the Huron Potawatomi Tribe at the Celebrate All Crosses of Life traditional powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Mandoka has been studying the Potawatomi Bodewadmimwen language for twelve years.

“This language was taken from my grandmother when she was my age, so now that she has passed away, I live in her honor by studying this language,” Mandoka said. “There is a lot of sacredness in our [language] which cannot really be interpreted into English. “

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Waaba Medawis of Grandville at the traditional Celebrate All Across powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“My dad plays the drums and I’m a dancer,” Medawis said. “I like it because we all get together, my whole family comes here.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Travis Schuyler of Detroit and the Oneida and Ojibwe tribes during the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“It’s a way of life for us, we’ve been doing it for thousands of years and it continues,” said Schuyler. “So I think those functions in general are extremely important to who we are as indigenous peoples.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Travis Schuyler of Detroit and the Oneida and Ojibwe tribes wears badges decorated with the Detroit Tigers logo during the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“It shows that we are still here as a people,” said Schuyler. “It attracts people who are not native or who think we’re not here anymore, it catches their attention and they want to come and see.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Larry Kuzyk, a Muskegon Army and Ojibwe tribe veteran who toured twice during the Vietnam War, holds a POW / MIA flag during the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University at Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“I came to this powwow because I couldn’t do it when I grew up in the United States of America until they passed the [1978 American Indian Religious] Freedom Act, “Kuzyk said.” I am not a victim, today I can tell my story to people so that we can free other people. “

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Lori Shustha at the Traditional Celebrate All Crosses of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Shustha said she came to the powwow to continue the tradition with her grandchildren .

“We love to dance,” said Shustha, “and it’s just a lot of fun.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Destiney Thomas at the traditional Celebrate All Across powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“My grandmother made me start dancing when I was little and I just love dancing,” Thomas said.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Russ Blackbird from Bkejwanong, Ontario and the Odawa and Oneida tribes during the traditional Celebrate All Acrosses powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“This set of badges that I made is based on the teachings of the hummingbirds,” Blackbird said. “It is the only bird that teaches us to stop and look around. It notices everything because it can fly in one place, swing around and look at everything before making a decision on what to do. then.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Jackson’s Douge Mackel at the Traditional Pow Wow Celebrate All Across at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“It’s a family reunion,” Mackel said. “We solve our problems here, we leave our problems here.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Jackson’s Douge Mackel at the Traditional Pow Wow Celebrate All Acrosses at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Michael E. Loonsfoot of Grandville and the Ojibwe Tribe holds a “Peace Gathering Staff” at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“My stick was given to me through my elder who passed away, so I honor him by carrying this stick,” Loonsfoot said. “He asked me to wear this to keep the peace in the world”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Rick Taylor of Hastings and the Cherokee Tribe at the traditional Celebrate All Across powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“I’ve always loved my heritage and that’s why I come to powwows,” Taylor said.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Corinne Richardson of Middletown, Ohio and the Lakota, Creek and Hopi tribes during the traditional Celebrate All Acrosses powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Richardson said she came to the powwow to “socialize, culture, friends, family, celebration and learning.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Donald Gann of Grand Rapids and the Grand Traverse Band Ottawa at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

“It’s important for me for my health and well-being, for my sobriety, to demonstrate that we are still a worthy part of this region,” Gann said. “This region where my grandparents came from and where I come from … we are a loving, generous, hardworking and productive part … we are still here”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Colleen Moore of Wayland and the Seneca Tribe at the traditional Celebrate All Crosses powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

“I don’t feel complete unless I go to the powwows,” Moore said. “It’s part of my identity.”

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Coopersville’s Ciarra Parney and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi at the Celebrate All Across Traditional Powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Steve Kequom of Muskegon and the Odawa Tribe at the Celebrating All Walks of Life Traditional Pow Wow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Sandy Richardson, left, and Corinne Richardson at the traditional Celebrate All Horizons powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Coopersville’s Summer Staup at the traditional Celebrate All Across powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Coopersville’s Ariel Hendershot at the traditional Celebrate All Across powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Mijiikwis Wabanimkee, 14, left, Ariel Burgess, 10, and Paula Hill of Portage and the Grand Traverse gang of Odawa and Ojibwe and the Little Traverse Bay gang of Odawa at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Ariel Burgess, 10, of Portage and the Grand Traverse Band of Odawa and Ojibwe and Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Paula Hill of Portage and the Grand Traverse Band of Odawa and the Ojibwe and Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa at the traditional Celebrating All Walks of Life powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Mike Clark | MLive.com

Jeanette Locher of Saugatuck and the Ojibwe Tribe at the Celebrating All Walks of Life traditional powwow at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Locker said she was attending powwows to “reconnect with a long lost culture “.


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