20th Return to Pimiteoui Pow Wow

Shared Stories
on March 29, 2011

Mitakuye oyasin.  This is Lakota for “we are all related.”  For the past 19 years, many people have Returned to Pimiteoui for an Intertribal Pow Wow.  Get a glimpse of the American Indian culture at the 20th Return to Pimitoui Pow wow on June 11th and 12th at W. H. Sommer Park in Edwards, IL.  This will be a time for Native Americans to once again join in dancing, singing, and teaching.  Although the people come together from many directions, their dreams are similar: to gather, preserve, and protect the wisdom of the people, which includes the universal values of love and kindness toward life in all its forms. 


People come from various backgrounds, not only to share their colorful differences, but to celebrate their similarities and common ground.  The people come together to honor the traditions of the past, to celebrate their lives today, and to pray for a harmonious future.   Living in harmony with each other, the land, and all living things is the very essence of native lifeways.


The drum is sacred and is given the highest respect by all tribes as the most important part of a powwow. Central Illinois is fortunate to have the dedicated drum group of Spirit of the Rainbow as the Host Drum.   The dancers are dressed according to their region or tribal background and perform several types of dances: traditional, fancy, grass, jingle, war, round, two step, snake, and honor.  During the intertribal dance, all people may dance including the public.


The Return to Pimiteoui Pow Wow Committee was formed under the Peoria 1691 Foundation during preparation for the 1991-2 Peoria Tri-Centennial Celebration and is one of the few TriCentennial events to be carried on as a continuing activity. The mission of Return to Pimiteoui Pow Wow is to educate the public about the Native American history and cultural heritage of the Peoria area and to provide the descendants of Native Americans once living in this area with a structure for gathering together with one another and for expressing their cultural traditions. 


There will be a primitive camp with French voyageurs, which represents the first Europeans to meet and live with the Illinois Woodland tribes.  Various tents, teepees, and shelters of the time make up the camp.  Re-enactors provide a living historical view of the period as they live in the camp during the two day event. They will display the food, clothing, gear, and weapons that depict a living history of the 1600's including tipis and welcome questions from the public.  Lou Aiello’s Traveling Museum will feature Native American reproductions that depict Indian life prior to the Europeans- personal items, warfare, tools, containers, food, medicine, etc.


The cultural center offers hands on activities for children and adults such as corn grinding, pump drills, and effigy pottery making. Storytelling and educational exhibits will be featured. Artists will demonstrate Native American arts such as bowmaking, flintknapping, flutes, fingerweaving, fiber arts, dance regalia, gourds, and more. Dr. Michael Wiant, director of Dickson Mounds, Leonid Kozintsev, Rose Staley, Ed Adkins, Bonnie Cox, Jackie Bowen, Jim Miller will be among the presenters. Within the Cultural Center’s Wisdom Keepers’ Circle there are several featured speakers.  Adam Danner, president of 4 Directions Healing Foundation, strives to promote understanding of American Indians. Dave Weiman will speak about the “U.S. ‘Support’ for the U. N. Declaration on Indigenous Rights-What Does It mean?”  Eliida Lakota will explain her exquisite native doll collection.  Jo Lakota, an educator who returned to Peoria in 1995 after teaching for several years at the Santa Fe Indian School, will share stories as well as fiber artist Rose Staley, and Patti Erwin. 


In the early days of this land powwows were gatherings of friends and relation who came together to share information, tell stories and to trade their goods.  There were feasts, dances singing, drumming and games.  During a period of more than 160 years following the arrival of the first French explorers in 1673, a large number of tribes are known to have either inhabited or passed through the part of the Illinois River Valley that is now Peoria. Once called Pimiteoui, this land of abundance included the Peoria Lakes and the immediate surrounding area. The many descendants of these peoples and all who come will give tribute to their ancestors who were the first keepers of this land.  This pow wow is intertribal which means that respect is given to the traditions of different tribes and works towards harmony and improved understanding of each other.


The Native American Fellowship Dayspring Church of East Peoria will lead an Interfaith Worship Service on Sunday at 10:30. The service is open to people of all faiths and races. The church’s mission is to share Native American traditions and spirituality and the teachings of Jesus Christ in an intertribal community welcome to all.


The 20th Annual Return to Pimiteoui Pow Wow will be held June 11th and 122h, 2011, at W.H. Sommer Park, on Koerner Rd. (off Rt. 150 west of the Shoppes of Grand Prairie) in Edwards, IL.  This is a wholesome family centered event with free, ample parking and handicap accessibility.  Admission cost is $8 per car.  


For up to date information on the programs and the event’s schedule, please check the website: http://www.peoriapowwow.org/ or call 309.357.0503


Found in: Shared Stories