OU Hosts Historic Powwow

Posted by Paula Paine on May 12, 2015 in 150th, "Charter Day", powwow, sesquicentennial, "Your OU" As part of its sesquicentennial celebrations, and for the first time in its history, Ottawa University hosted an Ottawa Powwow conducted by the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma on Saturday, April 18. The powwow was part of a number of special events surrounding the University’s April 21 Charter Day.
Beginning at noon, the powwow extended through the afternoon and evening, with an opening ceremony at 2:00 p.m. The powwow included dancing, drums, and booths with food and wares for purchase from student organizations, several tribes and Ottawa businesses. The powwow provided an occasion for children and adults alike to get a glimpse into our country’s Native American heritage, as well as the important role that the Ottawa Tribe has played in Ottawa University’s history.
Though the event was an Ottawa Powwow, as is traditional, members from a number of tribes attended, including Caddo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Comanche, Eskimo, Kiowa, Miami, Omaha, Osage, Ottawa, Pahmunkey, Peoria, Potawatomi, Shawnee, and Wea. The tribe members came from Miami, OK, and other northeastern Oklahoma cities; Joplin, Kansas City, and Sedalia, MO; Salina and Wichita, KS, as well as the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation of Mayetta.
A total of 250-300 people attended and participated in the powwow, which was moved inside to the Mabee Center due to rain. It appeared that students, community members, alumni, and faculty/staff were equally charmed by the powwow traditions and dances. From young to old, many joined in the dancing (including the University’s own President Kevin Eichner!), sampled the Tribal foods, and purchased souvenirs from the many vendors. Among the attendees were Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Administrator Eugene Shawano from Wisconsin; alumni and trustees from Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana, and Colorado; as well as alumni and friends living within a 100-mile radius of Ottawa.
So much of what happens at powwows is similar to family reunions, and the powwow at OU was no different. In fact, there were some Ottawa Tribe members who got to meet relatives from the Hurr family that they didn’t know they had, and they were able to meet the leader of their Nation, Chief Ethel Cook.
The powwow was preceded on Saturday by tours of the Ottawa Indian cemetery, the Mission Church and the Tauy Jones home. It was followed on Sunday morning by a worship service, which was moved from the Mission Church site to Peters Auditorium on the College campus due to wet conditions.  Chief Cook led the service, accompanied by Tribe member Cap Ulrey, who opened in prayer, and Kalisha Burtrum, who signed the Lord’s Prayer. After OU student Ethan Sullender read scripture, President Eichner gave the message, followed by the benediction from University Chaplain John Holzhuter.