2018-05-17 / Life in Leelanau

Pow Wow to honor S-B graduates

5 are Tribal members


THE 8TH Annual Graduation Pow Wow will be taking place this Friday in the Suttons Bay High School Gymnasium. THE 8TH Annual Graduation Pow Wow will be taking place this Friday in the Suttons Bay High School Gymnasium. Drumming, dancing and feasting will be part of the eighth annual Graduation Pow Wow Friday at Suttons Bay Public School.

The event will honor the school’s 31 graduates, and is sponsored by the school’s Title VII program.

A federally funded program, Title VII promotes Anishinaabe culture. It also provides academic support when needed for Native American students, ranging in grades kindergarten through 12th.

Five members of the 2018 graduating class belong to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Teacher Sarah Christensen is the program’s part-time director. Students plan, organize, and oversee the Pow Wow, she said.

“The ages of the students that put it on varies from year to year,” Christensen said. Last year, the event was organized by nine Native American students in the senior class. This year a group of middle school students stepped up to the plate.

Audry Anderson, Grace Marshall and Skylar Agosa were among the volunteer organizers who sought to keep their Tribal culture alive.

A traditional feast that includes Indian tacos will start at 5 p.m. A Grand Entry — the highlight of a Pow Wow — will follow in the school gym and feature students performing Anishinaabe dances in bright regalia.

Military colors will be presented by members of the American Legion Post 120, Eagletown.

Two Suttons Bay alumni will return for the celebration. 2017 graduates Leilani DeFoe and Ryan Memberto will be head female and male dancers, respectively.

For Memberto, the decision to participate was easy.

“Our district has one of the highest native populations in the state,” Memberto said. “It’s really beneficial for kids to be a part of an event like this because they can’t get that kind of exposure to a new culture at home.”

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