American Indian Culture Honored at Local Powwow

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Byline: Steve Zalusky

Busse Woods resounded with the beat of drums Sunday, as the Forest Preserve of Cook County and the American Indian Center of Chicago held theirfirst Traditional Pow-Wow at the Busse Boating Center Grove #24.

Visitors -- many bedecked in American Indian regalia -- picked up the beat and danced in a circle formed by bales of hay that served as seats for the spectators.

The festival included not just singing and dancing, but archery, arts and crafts, and a display of American Indian architecture, including wigwams and longhouses.

Representatives from the forest preserve district were on hand to display animals in existence before European settlement.

Itasca resident Joe Podlasek, the executive director of the American Indian Center, said the forest preserve is a natural choice for this event.

"This is a very natural setting for us to do a powwow. It is a beautiful place. We're woodlands people, so it fits. It works," he said.

Podlasek, who comes from both an American Indian and a Polish background, said the event involved some "community learning" imparted from one generation to another, such as how build the longhouses, which are made of interwoven strips of wood. The forest preserve district staff helped gather the wood. …