Event to be held at Loomis Lodge.
The Gathering, a day of celebration for the rich Indigenous culture that is embedded in the history of this bi-peninsular paradise, will be held at Loomis Lodge this Sunday.
We caught up with some of the organizers to pose a few questions and gather a few quotes.
How did The Gathering begin and how long has the event been going on?
The Gathering began 6 years ago when our Organization was just beginning in the community. We wanted to ensure that we provided an opportunity and a safe space to share our history and stories from a first person Indigenous perspective. Newaygo County is one of the most Indigenous populated areas in the state and we as an organization felt it was important to promote and protect that. With the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic we have hosted the Gathering every year since 2015.
What are the goals of The Gathering?
The goals of the Gathering are to provide a safe space and opportunity for Indigenous cultures to be shared, celebrated, and honored in a good way. We are dedicated to ensuring that we do this from a first person perspective and help promote and support the true history of our people and the struggles we face as Indigenous people in the 21st century.
Tell us a little about Native Circle.
The Native Circle of Newaygo County is an Indigenous nonprofit organization. Our board members are all Indigenous and represent 3 out of the 12 federally recognized tribal nations in the state as well as the Swan Creek and Black River Tribes and First Nation tribes from Canada. We focus on preserving our history, educational presentations, and raising awareness about social injustice issues that target Indigenous populations. We do many community events throughout the year from the Gathering, school presentations, reading programs, harm reduction , land reclamation, and suicide prevention. We partner with other Indigenous organizations across the state to help address these issues. We not only work and focus on Newaygo County but we have also done events in Detroit, Port Huron, and Grand Rapids. Lastly, we at NCNC strive to ensure to have an organization that is represented by Indigenous people and welcome any Indigenous person into the organization. We believe that equity in the communities that we reside in will lead to ensuring that our culture, history, and traditions will be carried on into the next generations.
Why should people attend? What should they expect?
People should attend to celebrate the Original People of this area and our beautiful culture , history, and stories. They should come expecting to see our unique artwork, dancing and singing. This event is very similar to a Pow Wow, we will have a drum and singers and dancers in their regalia. We will also have 3 speakers , presenting on topics that they feel are important in the Indigenous community. We will have a variety of vendors at the event that attendees can visit and purchase various items from. And The Native Circle of Newaygo County will also be having a silent auction, arts and crafts tables for the youth, and we are providing a free feast to the community after the event is over at 6pm. This a great opportunity for people to come and interact and learn about the Indigenous people of this area and the state of Michigan.
Anything else to add?
People can always visit our Facebook page for more information about the organization and our upcoming events.
We also asked some of the members of Native Circle to talk about The Gathering
“I look forward to the Gathering each year just to see how much bigger it has grown than the previous year. The event is unique in that it has presenters that speak about topics that affect our communities (Indigenous) today and tie it all together to our culture and history in a way that is engaging to those who attend. We have always gotten positive feedback about the event from those that attend it and that makes it all worthwhile for me as a Board member.”
Banshee (Joe) Cadreau- NCNC Secretary
“My children always have a great time at the Gathering. They have learned so much about the culture from the many different people that come together to make the event happen. They enjoy the opportunity to dance and be proud of who and what they are in the community we live in. That is important to me and my husband as parents.”
Laci Regan- NCNC Treasurer
“I really enjoy watching the community of Newaygo come together to learn about our Indigenous culture. The event seems to get better and bigger every year and that is awesome to be part of.”
David Moore- NCNC President