Ike family hosts 12th Vet's Day Powwow
All veterans invited to attendThis Nov. 9 and 10 will mark the 12th year the Ike family has honored tribal and other military veterans by putting on the Veteran's Day Powwow at the Agency Longhouse in Warm Springs.
A powwow to honor vets was the dream of Daisy Ike, who works as the juvenile coordinator for the Confederated Tribes.
Daisy's family has a long history of military service. Her great-grandfather Toh-sympt, was a great Indian warrior and the Wasco Chief who signed the Treaty of 1855 with other chiefs to create the Warm Springs Reservation.
At age 8, Daisy was directly affected when her father Benjamin Dick was killed in action during World War II. With the help of stipends from the government, her mother was able to raise Daisy and her sister, and they developed an appreciation for their government because of that.
As an adult Daisy wished there was a way she could recognize and honor all veterans and their families for the contributions they had made to Warm Springs and their country.
Her dream came true in 1989 when Daisy's children formed a nonprofit organization called the Veteran's Day Powwow Committee.
Her children are Fred Ike Jr., 45, who works in forestry for the Yakama Nation; Lucas Ike, 41, employed at Warm Springs Forest Products; Tyrone Ike, 34, tribal detective, a Marine Corps veteran; Lavena "Lovie" Ike, 38, a sergeant with Warm Springs Police Department and a U.S. Army veteran; Lena Ike, 37, who works in gaming at Kah-Nee-Ta High Desert Resort; Leona Ike, 40, supervisor of tribal parole and probation. Also on the committee is Daisy's son-in-law, James Greene.
Daisy and Fred act as advisers to the committee, and they have declared all other veterans and their families as honorary committee members.
"The art of powwow originated from Indian warriors preparing for or returning from battles fought to keep their families safe, and to preserve their territories that provided sacred foods and sacred spiritual lands," Leona explained.
The mission of the Veterans Day Powwow Committee was to provide a traditional and spiritual activity that encouraged the participation of vets, their families, local and traveling families in order to honor their service to the United States.
"We honor all past and present veterans. Those from the Indian Wars, Civil Wars, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and all wars fought in the interest of our people," Leona said.
The Veteran's Day Powwow, which is Nov. 9 and 10 this year, is a combination of dance contests, Native American music, gift giving in appreciation to the veterans, and healing dances and ceremonies. It is a fun even for the whole family, and not just for Native American vets.
"Any veteran of any race can be in the Grand Entry. Last year we had vets come from Bend, Redmond and Madras and that was kind of neat," Leona said. "No ticket is needed. People should just come, they're more than welcome," she added.
For the past five years the committee has invited the Madras High School JROTC Color Guard to participate in the Friday, Nov. 9, Grand Entry, which starts at 7 p.m.
During the Grand Entry a parade of veteran dignitaries dressed in regalia, war bonnets or military uniforms, carry in flags and circle the Agency Longhouse assembly room. Included are the Eagle Staff, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs flag, American flag, and Prisoner Of War flag.
Drumming music and dance contest follow, all performed as a way of honoring of the veterans.
Two local drum groups will be performing this year, Eagle Thunder from Warm Springs and Quartz Creek from Simnasho. Special guest drummers the Blacklodge Singers from White Swan, Wash., have also been invited to preform. Blacklodge was named the World Champion Drum in the nation for 2001, was nominated for a Grammy in 2001, and recently performed at the Native American Music Awards.
"My brother Fred sings with Blacklodge," Leona said proudly.
In addition, Kenny Scabbyrobe, the father of the other members of the Blacklodge Singers, will serve at the master of ceremonies for the Veterans Day Powwow.
Gifts will be given to veterans during the event thanks to donations from several businesses. Gifts in the past have included saddle blankets, Pendleton blankets and baseball caps reading "Native Veteran" across the top.
"The vet's caps are popular," Leona said, noting that they never know how many vets are going to attend, so if they run out of gifts they buy extra gifts from powwow vendors.
She said Native American craft vendors can rent booths for $50 or less a day, but the Ike family runs the food concession. All proceeds from the food go towards prize money for the dancers.
Because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the United States, this year's Veteran's Day Powwow will also honor all law enforcement and fire department workers at 7 p.m., Saturday evening.
In addition, Leona's sister, Lena, is sponsoring a Jingle Dress competition as a symbol of healing for the nation. Jingle dresses were invented by an Indian woman who was trying to keep people from getting cancer and other illnesses from smoking and chewing tobacco. She made the silver "jingles" on the dresses from the rolled up lids of tobacco chew cans.
"The jingle dress dance is a healing and prayer dance and jingle dancers come from all over to participate. When they dance, they're showing their respect. All dancers do," Leona said.
Other dances, with top prizes ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, will include the Men's Round Bustle dance, which represents the warrior and is done before men go to war and after they come back; and the Contemporary Men's Traditional dance, where dancers wear traditional beaded costumes but use modern dance steps.
For the ladies there will be a Women's Traditional dance; and mixed social dances will include the Owl Dance for couples, and Switch Contest, where men dance with shawls and women with bustles.
Two Grand Entries are held on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 2 and 7 p.m., to accommodate people who have to work on the weekend.
Leona said Sunday, Nov. 11, the official Veterans Day, is left open for events put on by the Warm Springs VFW, and noted usually there is a ceremony, parade and special dinner in Warm Springs.
The Ike family just recently learned about the Veteran's Memorial constructed by Madras Eagle Scout Jordy Brown at Friendship Park.
"I heard about it in the newspaper and it made me happy," Leona said, noting her great-uncle Roscoe Dick is one of the names on the Madras memorial.
The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs supports the Veteran's Day Powwow with a sizable contribution, and donations from local businesses, neighboring tribes and the Ike family committee make up the difference. Funds raised go to pay dance prizes and buy gifts for the veterans.
Besides the Confederated Tribes, donations this year came from: WSFPI, Warm Springs Composite Products, Kah-Nee-Ta High Desert Resort and Casino, Seven Feathers Casino (Cow Creek), Legends Casino (Yakama), and Chinook Winds Casino (Siletz). Anyone interested in donating may contact Leona at 553-3293, or Lovie at 553-1123 for more information.
A recent article in the tribal newspaper "Spilyay Tymoo" listed some 390 known Warm Springs veterans from Indian Scouts, and Government Scouts during the Modoc War, to soldiers in World War I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam Conflict and Persian Gulf War.