This December’s Wawyéwgawen (Round Dance) hosted 250 community members at the Dowagiac Middle School for dancing, feasting, and competition.
The Pokagon Wawyéwgawen was hosted for our Neshnabé relatives seeking togetherness and comfort during this holiday season, a season when sharing time with friends and family is just as important as remembering our loved ones who have traveled back to their forever home. The songs at a Wawyéwgawen that were shared by the singers were reminders of the love that can be felt in this physical life. These songs call to those who have walked on through the Western door and are an invitation for them to come and be with us and to share in the warmth and comfort of loved ones once again.
The dance started with the Cree people in the Northern plains of Canada. The origin story tells a tale of a Cree man who lost his partner and was mourning greatly. She told him to dance to a love song where she would join him. From this man’s sorrow rose a tradition soon adopted by tribes across North America. We Potawatomi use Round Dance (Wawyéwgawen) as an opportunity to be together as a community, but we maintain the spiritual importance by acknowledging those who have passed on.