Pow Wow is May 1 snd 2

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

When you’ve been gone for 179 years, it’s bound to be a special homecoming when you return.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2, Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island will host a Homecoming Pow Wow for the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma and the Meskwaki Nation of Tama, Iowa. These groups are descended from the Native American groups that called the Quad Cities area home from 1740 until the start of the Black Hawk War in 1831.

The Homecoming Pow Wow will begin Saturday, May 1 with a Grand Entry at 1 p.m., followed by dancing and drumming from 1 to 4, supper break from 4 to 6, a second Grand Entry at 6:30 p.m., and dancing and drumming from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday, May 2 will start with the dedication of the new Saukenuk Exhibit in the Hauberg Indian Museum at 10 a.m., followed by a Grand Entry at noon and dancing and drumming from noon to 4 p.m.

All dancing and drumming will be held on the north side of the site, near the old Labor Day Pow Wow grounds. Some of the dances to be performed, such as the Buffalo Head Dance and the Swan Dance, are traditional, ceremonial dances that belong to the Meskwaki Nation. Other dances will include Men’s Fancy Dance, Men’s Traditional Dance, Women’s Jingle, Women’s Fancy Shawl, and Women’s Traditional Dance. Native foods and crafts will be available for sale.

Visitors should park at the Watch Tower Plaza parking lot at 4000 11th Street, Rock Island.  Shuttle buses will run on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit www.blackhawkpark.org or call (309) 788-9536.

A new exhibit was recently installed in the Hauberg Museum which explains the migration of the Sauk and Meskwaki from Canada to the Mississippi River valley as well as explaining the means by which the land was taken from them. The centerpiece of the new exhibit is a 4 by 8 foot scale model of the city of Saukenuk, population 5,000 in 1822. It was the city in which Black Hawk lived.  This exhibit is the most significant addition to the museum since 1977 and is a “one of a kind.” There will be a formal dedication of the new exhibit at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 2 at the Watch Tower Lodge.

The Sauk and Meskwaki resided in the Quad City area. They were removed from their lands against their will and though they no longer live there, still their hearts and spirits remember this place and call it home. The Homecoming Gathering is being held to celebrate the Sauk and Meskwaki People, their continued connection to the Rock Island area, and to welcome them home to what Black Hawk State Historic Site hopes will become an annual event.

Black Hawk State Historic Site is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. It includes the Watch Tower Lodge, built between 1934 and 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps; the Hauberg Museum, with exhibits depicting the daily lives of the Sauk and Mesquakie Indian nations; a large statue of Black Hawk (1767-1838) created in 1892 by sculptor David Richards; Singing Bird Nature Center, a smaller lodge building, is used for programs sponsored by the Citizens to Preserve Black Hawk Park Foundation; and a unique 100-acre “designated nature preserve,” consisting of an oak-hickory forest with numerous woodland flowers and bird species, including bald eagles, with four miles of hiking trails. The site is open for free public tours.