March 28, 2012

Saluki Pow Wow 2012 is set for April 13-14

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A unique learning experience and a fun event for the whole family are all rolled into one during April’s Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow 2012.

The free cultural and educational event is April 13-14 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Student Recreation Center and everyone is welcome to participate.  The Pow Wow will feature an assortment of traditional foods along with authentic Native American arts and crafts, intertribal and exhibition dances, music and much more.  This year there will be a life-sized, interactive traditional native village and a children’s activity area. 

"The Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow is a wonderful and enriching event involving the University and community.  It's an opportunity for everyone to experience a piece of our culture and to learn about nations, tribes and cultures that have thrived for centuries on this continent. It's also a chance for Native students to enjoy and share part of our culture," Nichole Boyd (Blackfoot/Comanche) said.  Boyd, a history graduate student from Chicago, is the president of the University's Native American Student Organization and coordinator of the Pow Wow.

The doors open at 4 p.m. on April 13 and at 10 a.m. on April 14 and everything wraps up with the last song and retiring of colors at 10 each night.  The Grand Entry, happening at 6 p.m. each day and also at noon on Saturday, is the highlight of the Pow Wow. 

A military color guard, led by retired Marine Mike Pamonicutt (Menominee), the event head veteran, will kick off this beginning dance. There will also be representatives of the Army and Native ROTC and the area National Guard.   The event’s Head Man Wanbli Charging Eagle (Lakota) with Head Lady Shere Wright (Sicangu Lakota) will also take the stage.  Providing music will be Host North Drum Chief Hill (Green Bay, Wis.) and invited drums Warclub, Night Eagle Singers and Kinyaanii.

Emcee for the Pow Wow is Leonard Malatore (Salish/Kootenai) while Mark LaRoque (Ojibwe) is Arena Director.  Both were part of the successful inaugural Pow Wow in 2011.  Malatare, an Army veteran and northwestern Montana native, resides with his wife Clovia in Harwood Heights where they are active in the Chicago Native American community.  He’ll explain what’s happening during the entry and the dancing that follows.

The dance exhibitions and intertribal dances will showcase various styles of dance as well as the attire and regalia of Native American dancers from various tribes.  Throughout the course of the presentation, there will be opportunities for veterans to join in the dance as well as for other audience members to participate.  There will even be a “tiny tot” dance for children ages six and younger.

Pow Wow visitors will be able to purchase traditional foods as well as arts and crafts including painting, beadwork, silver items, pottery, hand-woven baskets and more.  Some of the artisans will demonstrate their crafts as well.

“The Pow Wow is a unique event for the Southern Illinois area as well as for Carbondale.  It brings together both the regional community members and SIU departments and students and is truly a family friendly, educational activity that serves as a regional draw,” said Meghan Cole, executive director of Carbondale Main Street. 

The festival is a family friendly, alcohol- and drug-free event.

Planning for the PowWow has been under way for months.  The Pow Wow Committee includes the Native American Student Organization, Native American Studies Minor faculty, members of the local Native community, Trails of Awareness, Carbondale Main Street and Carbondale Convention and Tourism. 

Presenting sponsors for the event include SIU Carbondale along with the University’s Native American Student Organization, Carbondale Main Street, Attitude Designs, Carbondale Convention and Tourism, Thomas Publishing, WSIU, Trails of Awareness, Phi Beta Sigma and Hampton Inn.  More than 15 campus registered student organizations are involved as well.

For more information about Southern Illinois Saluki Pow Wow 2012, visit the webpage at or check it out on Facebook and twitter.  You can also learn more by calling 618/201-7953 or 618/529-8040 or emailing or