Courtesy Colordance Design
Soaring Thorpe dances for powwow goers.

Grammy Winner Robert Mirabal Brings Star Power to Naperville Powwow

Tish Leizens
September 25, 2013

Two-time Grammy Award winner Robert Mirabal lent his star power to the 19th Annual Harvest Pow Wow in Naperville, Illinois.

“We are very excited with him coming out,” said Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, founder and president of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation, a non-profit group that organized the event, which was held at the Naper Settlement.

Mirabal, from Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, is an accomplished flutist and flute maker. He performed on Saturday evening, and the Foundation auctioned the artist’s drums after his performance.

“This powwow supplies our needs for the whole year,” said Schranz, Ojibwe, who explained that the inter-tribal powwow is the main fundraising event for the Foundation. They raised nearly $30,000 in 2012, and those funds assisted with: the protection of sacred sites, wildlife conservation, and the education of Native American culture.

“At our powwow, visitors can experience the Native American culture through teachings, drumming, dancing, arts and crafts, cultural demonstrations and Native food,” said Schranz.

The powwow featured 100 dancers who entertained the crowd with traditional, inter-tribal, and round dances. Three dance groups took the main stage: Little Bear Hoop Dancers from the Menominee Tribal School; the Hana Hou Hula performers; and the Aztec Dance Group by Oceloti-Cihuacoatl.

“It is good to help dancers and drummers showcase their talents,” said Schranz, adding that performers are mostly from the area and neighboring states. He said that there are few opportunities left for them to share their talents as powwow season starts to wind down.

Another highlight of the event was the viewing of the American Bald Eagle Deshka and other rehabbed birds of prey. Protecting wildlife is important to the mission of the Foundation. It continues to secure the future for the bison, the indigenous symbol of survival.

“We are very big on environment,” said Schranz. He said that for a 20-year period, the Foundation has also protected about 1,800 acres of land in Illinois. “We are protecting our future for our future.”