Independence Day for Native Americans and Their Patriotic Customs
Native Americans on the Fourth of July
Our indigenous peoples of the USA are called many things: Native Americans, Native North Americans, American Indigenous Peoples, First Peoples, and American Indians. They all celebrate Independence Day.
My favorite Fourth of July occurred some years ago in Washington DC at the US National Pow Wow.On the mall, a returning Vietnam serviceman and Unites States Marine had a special part to play.
Native Americans from all of our country's military branches gathered with other citizens to celebrate the national holiday. There was a gathering of people from over 1,000 Native American Nations that helped fill the national mall to overflowing.
There national pow wow had become part of Independence Day.
Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a Supreme Power, and principles of truth, honesty, generosity, equity, and brotherhood as a guide to mundane relations.— Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux Elder
A nineteen-year old US Marine in his dress uniform and medals came forward to the speaker's stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
He was officially recognized for accomplishments in battle, but then he walked off the platform. We heard that he was to prepare for another presentation to us.
In a few minutes, he returned in full Southwestern Native American ceremonial dance attire and performed for the crowd with traditional music and drummers.
Would they laugh at him? Would they throw stones at him for being a member of the military during an unpopular conflict in the turbulent year 1969? Native Americans had only received US citizenship in 1964, after the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Administrations unsuccessfully attempted to eliminate indigenous communities and governments. People in the crow held their breath.
The crowd was stone silent until the young man finished his outstanding performance -- W\ had heard that he was a winner of many dance competitions.
At his last step, the people erupted into thunderous, long-lasting applause for many minutes. I was heartened by the crowd's response, even though I did not yet know about my own native heritage. I thought about the indigenous peoples in the eastern part of our country that were forced westward onto reservations, but whose ancestors and descendants defended America anyway, in every war from the American Revolution, forward, especially as code talkers in WWII.
As a teenager, the Marine had not only embraced military duty, but also the culture of his native nation and that of non-indigenous America. It was a day for me to remember.
Current Native Celebrations
The Native American Indian Center in Central Ohio or NAICCO and its partner organizations sponsor regional pow wows on national patriotic holidays, especially in Ohio.
The events are held alternately in local state and county parks, on fairgrounds, and at other large venues in t he state. The NAICCO leadership focuses on three large yearly pow wows that honor our veterans and labor force workers on Memorial Day Weekend, July Fourth, Labor Day Weekend.
Independence celebration pow wows and "Indian" rodeos occur in several communities around Ohio and the nation to celebrate our freedom from England.
Native peoples from all over North America attend and compete in traditional dancing and drumming competitions, enjoyed by thousands of visitors and occurring almost every month in our country.
Indigenous-owned businesses from Canada and USA showcase their products and services at these pow wow, including fine arts, various crafts, dance demonstrations, teepee raising, and other events. One newer offering includes digital productions of traditional storytelling, dances, history, and crafts.
Native Americans own and operate the same types of businesses that all other Americans make a success. The operate casino hotels, large farms, dairy operations, a number of green industries, manufacturing businesses, environmental concerns, museums and tourist retreats, health services, and many others. The richest tribe in America holds special events during July Fourth Week.
The Great Mohican Indian Pow Wow is held a few days after the holiday in Loudonville, Ohio with information at MohicanPowWow.com.
An additional annual Pow Wow in Ohio is held during the second or third week of July in Waterford. Named "Honor Our Veterans Pow Wow," it celebrates not only indigenous service men and women, but all American service man and women, past and present.
Check your local news and events announcements for special July Fourth native celebrations in your area.
Some July Annual Pow Wows in the USA and Canada
Gordon First Nation Pow Wow, Canada
June 30 - July 2
Ermineskin Cree Nation, Western Canada
June 30 - July 2
Mashpee Wampanoag Pow Wow, MA
July 1 - July 3
Green Corn Dance Powwow and Gathering, Courtland VA
ll Tribes Recovery Pow Wow, Eljon CA
Monroe Pow Wow, Ohio
July 1 - July 3
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Pow Wow, NY
July 1 - July 4
National Pow Wow, Danville IN
July 6 - July 9
Strong Sun Pow Wow, NC
July 7 - July 9
Children of Many Colors Pow Wow, Moorpark CA
July 14 - July 16
Keweenaw Bay Maawanji'iding, Baraga MI
July 21 - July 23
Inter Tribal Wolf Creek Pow Wow, Bland VA
July 21 - July 23
Indian Hills Pow Wow, Oklahoma OK
Last weekend in July