Maawanji’ding, a celebration worth attending

This weekend marks the 35th annual Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s Maawanji’ding, or Pow Wow. Whether native or non-native, first-time visitor or Pow Wow regular, the weekend event is certainly worth seeing. This year’s theme, “Revitalizing Our Families and Community,” couldn’t be more pertinent.

If ever there was an area in need of revitalizing, at least economically, it is Baraga County.

With the closure or relocation of significant employers in recent years, Baraga County is continually at or near the top of counties with the highest unemployment rate in Michigan.

However, troubles seem to disappear the moment you walk onto the Ojibwe Campground during Maawanji’ding weekend. A sign reminds visitors they are entering “sacred ground,” and it certainly feels like it.

The KBIC calls their annual event a celebration, and no other word would give it justice.

A celebration of the tradition, music, dancing, regalia and, of course, food that makes up the Native American experience.

Be assured it is an experience the KBIC is more than willing to share. If you have not been swept up in the pageantry of a Grand Entry or moved by the salute to veterans, it is a void that can easily be remedied. In addition to participation by local groups and individuals, there are vendor booths with Native arts, crafts, herbs, music, videos and more available throughout the grounds.

Grand Entries are today at 1 and 7 p.m. and tomorrow at noon. The significance of the KBIC on the culture and economy of the Copper Country can not be overstated. And once a year, during the Maawanji’ding, we are all invited to celebrate it.

And well we should.