Indian Summer closes Lakefront Festival Season
The 26th annual Indian Summer celebration wrapped up Milwaukee's festival season this weekend. Photo gallery by Angela Morgan.
The final lakefront festival of the season at the Meier Festival Grounds wrapped up yesterday. Indian Summer celebrated its 26th year of helping to educate, preserve and promote American Indian cultures. The gathering in Milwaukee is Indian Nation’s largest cultural celebration and attracts Native people from all over the U.S., Canada and from around the world.
New this year at the festival was a special Smithsonian Institute exhibit, “Native Words, Native Warriors,” telling stories of Indian soldiers from more than a dozen tribes who acted as code talkers in World Wars I and II, using their Native languages in the U.S. military. Rounding out new activities were canoe rides in the lagoon and a Native Fashion Show.
Each day attendees could watch and participate in a pow-wow, which began with The Grand Entry. Flags of host and visiting tribes were brought in along with the honored members of those tribes. Veterans, elected royalty, and community representatives followed next. The last component of the entry brought in dancers in colorful and highly decorated attire. While the pow-wow is an event to honor American Indian culture, it is also a dance, drumming and singing competition with cash prizes.
A vast selection of arts and crafts from regional artists were available for purchase, and traditional clothing, ceremonial drums, books, and pow-wow regalia were also featured in the Marketplace. Some artists held basket weaving, doll and jewelry-making demonstrations.
A variety of performances from song, to dance, to storytelling were held at the festival. There was a Tribal Village where you could learn about the different Indian tribes, a Natural Path Herbal Area selling herbs and teas, and a Tribal Farmers Market selling homemade foods.
Several vendors sold frybread, traditional Native American flatbread, and some were sold in more festival-friendly versions including the frybread cheeseburger. Other tasty items available were roasted corn, Indian tacos, buffalo, fresh water fish and wild rice casserole.
Follow Angela Morgan on Twitter at @AngelinePhotog. For more TCD photo galleries, visit the Photo Gallery archive.