Native American Culture
Drumbeats, Bells and Songs
Drumbeats and jingling bells set the pace for singers and dancers skip-stepping into a grassy circle. Fringe, feathers and ribbons flutter with each step of the ritual start of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal National Pow Wow.
But pow wows like this also share the tribes’ way of life with the public. Visitors in lawn chairs watch daughters and mothers in matching bell-trimmed calico dresses dance to the music their dresses make. Or maybe they join a circle to hear elders tell stories and teach quillwork and black ash basket weaving, or try traditional Native American foods like fry bread and wild rice soup. The scenes repeat—with a key difference—about 150 miles straight north, at the tip of the Mitten, during the Rendezvous at the Straits Powwow at Father Marquette National Memorial Park in St. Ignace.
The difference being this gathering is two events in one—part voyageur reenactment, part traditional pow wow. Large crowds gather to watch how the meeting of these cultures unfolded. In one area, visitors listen as soldiers play fifes while raising a flag; in another, boys in loincloths beat hand drums while singing. At one point, voyageurs show off the steel knives traded to area tribes; later they line up to battle them.
Our mission at the Ziibwing Center, located in Mt. Pleasant, is to teach you about the Anishinabe Culture and life ways through education and exhibits. Learn about the heritage of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan through exhibits and our research center. The center also inlcudes meeting and conference facilities, cafe and gift shop. Open Monday through Saturday 10 am – 6 pm.
A national historic landmark, this museum interprets the rich archaeology and history of a 17th century Huron Indian village, Marquette's French Jesuit Mission, and local Ojibwa (Chippewa) Indian traditions and contemporary culture. The unique gift shop features an outstanding selection of authentic, locally-made Certified Native American art, crafts and gift items, and has the area's largest selection of native books. Located inside the Museum of Ojibwa Culture in St. Ignace. Open Memorial Day weekend to early December or by appointment.