Perrysburg Township powwow fetes safety personnel

9/30/2012
BY REBECCA CONKLIN KLEIBOEMER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jozie Waters, 13, of Camen, center, participated in a women's dance inside the sacred circle during this year's
Jozie Waters, 13, of Camen, center, participated in a women's dance inside the sacred circle during this year's "They Walked Here Before Us: A Woodland Indian Celebration" at Buttonwood Park in Perrysburg. This was the 10th annual powwow, which features Native American wigwams, drum performances, dancing, vendors and food.

The whir of helicopter blades and the scream of sirens drowned out part of the music of drumming and singing at a powwow Saturday in Perrysburg Township, but that was rather appropriate.

Just minutes before LifeFlight touched down on a soccer field nearby in Buttonwood Park, head warrior Elwood Knox called for all law enforcement, fire, and rescue personnel to be included in the veterans dance at the Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation’s 10th anniversary gathering, "They Walked Here Before Us: A Woodland Indian Celebration."

Emcee Jamie Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek, said first responders were to be counted among the heroes of the country's armed services.

"Nine-11 was an act of war," he said of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

PHOTO GALLERY: Woodland Indian Celebration

The War of 1812 also was significant at the powwow, remembering the American, Canadian, British, and native nations that engaged in battles right in that historic area along the Maumee River and at nearby Fort Meigs.

"Hopefully, when war is over, we can still honor our veterans," Mr. Oxendine said.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: "They Walked Here Before Us: A Woodland Indian Celebration"

WHEN: Continues 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; grand entrance slated for 1 p.m.

WHERE: Betty C. Black Recreation Area in Buttonwood Park, Perrysburg

ADMISSION: $4 for adults; $3 for seniors 60 and older; $2 for children 5-11 years old, and free for children 4 and younger.

Military and rescue personnel walked and danced inside a circle marked with straw bales, at its center a group of traditional drummers and singers.

The circle is the spiritual center of the gathering. It is entered only from the east, and dancers move through it in the direction of the sun's travel.

Dancers at this weekend's intertribal celebration were clad in an array of regalia, sporting jangling bells and feather bustles.

Dave Holland, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, wore a full bear pelt. His Shawnee name is Standing Bear, and he said dancing in the circle was a nearly indescribable spiritual experience.

"It's almost healing," he said.

Prayers for healing were lifted up while Perrysburg Township emergency crews were tending to a man who had been struck by a falling limb as he was trimming trees at a home nearby at the corner of Hull Prairie and River roads.

Prayers of thanksgiving had been offered earlier, especially for the weather, said Mr. Oxendine.

"Talk to the creator in your way," he said.

"They Walked Here Before Us: A Woodland Indian Celebration" continues from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. today at the park's Betty C. Black Recreation Area.

Visitors can explore an Indian village with lacrosse and flint knapping, a wildlife tent with American birds of prey, and a children’s tent with Native American arts and crafts. Food and merchant vendors also are on site.

Contact Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer at rconklin@theblade.com or 419-356-8786.