The American Indian Center of Chicago, with the help of 25 Under 25 UNITY Youth Leader Frankie Pederson, hosted its first virtual powwow late last year. The Indian Center normally hosts an annual “in person powwow” every November but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee opted to host a virtual event. The event kicked off with the premier of a short film about the origin and purpose of powwows and a feature about the Chicago Native community. Indian tacos were offered through contactless pickups. The 67th annual powwow featured teen, junior and adult categories plus two special contests.
“We had submissions from all across Turtle Island, from Arizona to Canada, and plenty of submissions from our own Chicago community. We were able to have all the categories we usually do for a contest powwow. We highlighted other community organizations and vendors, and we were able to gather virtually in the best way that we could,” said Pederson, Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nations. “Overall it was a great weekend to celebrate the community and come together in a safe way,” she added.
While the event was virtual, aspects of the powwow such as Veterans posting and retrieval of the colors (flags) were featured via live feeds on social media.