March 28, 2011

Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow set for April 2

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow 2011 offers participants a Native American cultural experience rarely seen in the region and everyone is welcome.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Native American Studies Minor and Native American Student Organization, along with Carbondale Main Street, will present the event on Saturday, April 2. There is no cost to attend. The doors open at the Carbondale Civic Center, 200 S. Illinois Ave., at 10 a.m. Throughout the day, people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy traditional Native American arts, crafts, foods, cultural demonstrations, exhibitions and dances.

“We are really encouraging campus and community involvement. This is something the whole family can enjoy and learn from. It’s really a fluid event with something going on all of the time,” said Nichole Boyd (Blackfoot/Comanche), a history graduate student from Chicago who is cultural adviser for the Native American Student Organization, a registered student organization at SIUC, and coordinator of the Pow Wow.

Cheray Salas (Cheyenne/Choctaw/Cherokee), president of the RSO, said the Native American students are “excited to be sharing this part of their culture with the community.”

The Grand Entry, happening at noon and again at 6 p.m., is a highlight of the Pow Wow. An Army and Air Force ROTC color guard will lead this beginning dance followed by the Native American head staff with musical accompaniment by Pipestone (Wisconsin), the host northern drum and Woodson Creek (Oklahoma), the host southern drum. The head staff includes: Patrick Spotted Wolf (Cheyenne/Arapaho), the head veteran; Butch Mudbone (Seneca), the head man; Fawn Galvin (Paiute and Yaqui), the head lady; and Mark LaRoque (Ojibwe), arena director. Master of Ceremonies Leonard Malatare (Salish/Kootenai) will explain what’s happening throughout the entry and the dancing that follow.

Next in the Grand Entry lineup is a veterans’ song, which invites veterans of all backgrounds, races and nationalities to walk together. They are welcome to participate in the dance exhibition that follows. Other Native Americans participating in the entry will then join with the head staff in a variety of dances, showcasing the various styles of dance and the attire and regalia of the dancers. There will also be intertribal dances.

As the dancing continues, audience members will be welcome to join in. There will even be a “tiny tot” dance for children ages six and younger.

Those attending the Pow Wow can purchase traditional Native American food and traditional arts and crafts including painting, beadwork, silver items, pottery hand-woven baskets and more. Some of the artisans will demonstrate their craft, too.

Visitors are welcome to visit with participants, join in the dances, and take photographs of dancers except during prayers and a few special songs. Boyd said the Pow Wow will include two Grand Entries in order to allow as many people as possible to enjoy the dancers’ entry.

The Trails of Awareness Project, an experiential nature and culture education program, will present two cultural demonstrations during the Pow Wow. The 10:30 a.m. program will illustrate the making of blowguns and other Native American technologies. The second presentation, at 4:30 p.m., will demonstrate the art of tulip poplar basket weaving.

The Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow is a family friendly, alcohol- and drug-free event. Fun activities will include a potato dance with participants placing a potato between their foreheads and then dancing while holding it in place. There’s even a prize for the couple that accomplishes this feat the longest.

Boyd said the Pow Wow, which will wrap up about 9:30 p.m., offers “plenty of opportunities for fun and an American culture education for kids of all ages.”

She also notes that SIUC’s College of Liberal Arts offers a minor in Native American Studies. See for details.

“The Pow Wow gives people an opportunity to experience a culture that they don’t normally get to experience in this area. It’s an educational experience that better enables and prepares people to live and work in a multi-cultural world,” said Herman A. Peterson (Cherokee descent), faculty adviser for the Native American Student Organization and associate professor at Morris Library.

Presenting sponsors for the Pow Wow include SIUC, Carbondale Main Street, the Native American Student Organization at SIUC, WSIU, Attitude Designs, Thomas Publishing, The Trails of Awareness Project, Hampton Inn and Adams Printing Co.

"Carbondale Main Street is pleased to assist with the Pow Wow because this event is mission-centric to our goal of promoting the downtown area. This event improves the quality of life for area residents, enhances our downtown and will bring people to Carbondale and the downtown area," said Meghan Cole, executive director of Carbondale Main Street.

For more information about Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow 2011, email or, call 618/529-8040 or look online at the Pow Wow webpage at