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The day the drums were heard again
Kokomo hosts first pow wow in modern era
This article is brought to you by the Kokomo Family YMCA. Grab a paddle and your teammate for the YMCA's first annual Pickleball Tournament on Oct. 28 at 8:00 a.m.! This doubles tournament is for ages 18 and older. You are welcome to bring your own paddles and indoor pickleballs. All proceeds will go toward the YMCA’s Annual Campaign. Get registered online at: Program Search (daxko.com)
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Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore proclaimed Sept. 23 as “the day that the drums were heard again along the Wildcat,” For the first time in 180 years, “Drums Along The Wildcat” sponsored by the City of Kokomo and the Kokomo Native Initiative, brought together many Americans of Native heritage to worship, dance, relax, have meals together, and connect with their Native heritage as part of the first pow wow in Kokomo in the modern era.
“Kokomo is known for being an automotive town, but Kokomo is also known to be a Native town; named after a Native of the Miami nation,” said Moore.
“And they all live in Indiana,” added Sally Tuttle, event organizer and member of the Native American Indian Affairs Commission of Indiana. “Potawatomi, Miami, Choctaw, Apache, Delaware … these are all Indiana people.”
Tuttle herself is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
The event started at 11 a.m. with a purification ritual, then a grand entrance to the dancing and drum circle by Native Veterans and the posting of the colors. Prayer then was given, after which the drums and dancing began.
Native groups came with dance and drum teams, taking shifts during the day to demonstrate the various ritual drum cadences and dances, explaining their meaning for the crowd assembled around the circle.
The groups came at Tuttle’s request “because this is Miami territory, and the drums have not been heard in this area for 180 years,” she remarked. “They all wanted to be a part of that.”
A press release from the Kokomo Native Initiative stated, “Kokomo has a unique place in Indiana history, being the last-named county seat of the last-named county on the last communal land of the Miami Tribe of Indians. All of Howard County (originally named Richardville for Maawikima Jean Baptiste Richardville) lies in the residue of the Great Miami Reserve. Although tribal government was forcibly removed from these ancestral homelands by 1846, removal could never erase Native identity and culture. Miami tribal names remained for Indiana’s last county and its county seat at Kokomo.”
After the removal of the local Native population, the drums were silent.
“This is an historic moment,” stated Moore, also a member of the Miami Nation. “The drums are heard again along the Wildcat.”
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