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Head Start Powwow says hello to tots and goodbye to others

By Alyssa Nenemay

The Ronan Event Center was filled families who came to attend the 38th Annual Head Start Powwow. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) The Ronan Event Center was filled families who came to attend the 38th Annual Head Start Powwow. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

RONAN — Tiny feet beat to the drum as Head Start classrooms throughout the reservation gathered in celebration for the program’s 38th Annual Powwow. Filling the Ronan Event Center, the powwow commemorates another successful year serving its pint size students and their families.

A miniature traditional dancer (Right) leads his much older peers in the dance circle. “These children have the power to heal us,” says 8-year cultural instructor Jr. Caye. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) A miniature traditional dancer (Right) leads his much older peers in the dance circle. “These children have the power to heal us,” says 8-year cultural instructor Jr. Caye. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

With paper crowns and painted turkey feathers, the dance floor was filled with families teaching their tots to dance. In preparation for the annual event, students helped craft and design various regalia items including bustles, crowns, staffs, and fans.

Students were also given a courtesy pair of moccasins, some of which were constructed by renowned local tribal artist Karen Kapi. Kapi has been contracted to provide moccasins for the annual event for over a decade and said she includes a new design each year. This year’s beadwork featured a turtle, which Kapi said represents “love.”

Powwow MC Emory Wilson (Left) announces Head Start instructor Lolita Hendrickson’s (Right) retirement after 38 years of service with the program. “Stay involved with the program and your children’s education,” she says. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) Powwow MC Emory Wilson (Left) announces Head Start instructor Lolita Hendrickson’s (Right) retirement after 38 years of service with the program. “Stay involved with the program and your children’s education,” she says. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

Cultural instructor Jr. Caye has worked with the program for eight years, traveling to various classrooms in order to teach the children about Kootenai language and culture. Caye took a moment to address the powwow’s grand entry march: “Today, we ask Creator that we don’t ever forget our ways and that we use our tools that are here to better ourselves. These children have the power to heal us,” he said.

Honoring the children for beginning their journey in education, new addition to the Head Start staff and powwow MC Emory Wilson called for an honor song to remember the reservation’s war dance chiefs Octave Finley and Matt “Buckskin” Michel who both passed this year. “We honor both elders for their work in carrying on the tribal cultures and traditions,” said Wilson.

With paper crowns and painted turkey feathers, pint-size Head Start students had an opportunity to dance and learn about the powwow celebration. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)  With paper crowns and painted turkey feathers, pint-size Head Start students had an opportunity to dance and learn about the powwow celebration. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

Another honoree for the night was Head Start instructor Lolita Hendrickson who announced that she would be retiring after 38 years of service with the program. “I am so thankful for everyone who participated in Head Start’s events throughout the year. Stay involved with the program and your children’s education,” she said.

As another powwow winded down for the Head Start program, a complimentary Indian Taco feast was provided for guests.

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