Powwow passes on heritage to young,
Another family is rediscovering its roots. Pamela Gardner of Dowagiac and
her two sisters, all in their 50s, will do a
dance at the powwow.
Gardner said her dad was a full-blooded American Indian, but he shielded
his children from learning the language and customs. Also, she did not grow
up on a reservation, which helps pass on traditions, she said in a phone
To catch up on her heritage, Gardner reads books, attends tribal meetings
and talks with the local elders group, which teaches others how to make
traditional clothing and the proper way to dance.
Gardner and sisters Jacqueline Trux of Hartford, Mich., and Theresa
McFall of South Haven, Mich., are hand-sewing their own regalia:
deerskin skirts, capes and moccasins; fabric shawls with 14-inch fringe; and
turkey-feather fans with handles made of cedar, a wood sacred to the
Passing on the culture to the children is important,
Gardner said. She is raising her 8-year-old grandson, and she teaches him
the customs and traditions of his ancestors.
He has decided
to grow his hair long and wear it in a braid, even though he is blond,
and she is honored by that, she said.
Though the sisters have attended powwows before, this will be the first
time they will dance at one.
Their dad has passed away, and the sisters want to
honor him. We want to dance and show the world who we are and
that we are proud of who we are, Gardner said.