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Veterans from all over to gather for powwow

Although this weekend's powwow is held to specifically honor those who served in the military, everyone is invited to listen to award-winning drummers, enjoy the dancing, eat tasty tacos and greet veterans from all over the United States and Canada.

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Fond du Lac veterans Lyman LaFave, Billie Jo Robinson, Sherry Provine and Tim Page represent all Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa military service veterans as they walk in the Cloquet Fourth of July parade for the first time. Jamie Lund/news@pinejournal.com

Although this weekend’s powwow is held to specifically honor those who served in the military, everyone is invited to listen to award-winning drummers, enjoy the dancing, eat tasty tacos and greet veterans from all over the United States and Canada.

The 22nd Annual Veterans Powwow is being held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Mash Ka Wisen powwow grounds in Sawyer. Events are free and open to the public.

“We honor ALL veterans,” said Thomas Whitebird, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa veterans service officer.

The event opens with a Grand Entry and first round of specials 7 p.m. Friday.

Besides the veterans, special guests include Senator Al Franken and Major General Richard C. Nash, Adjutant General Minnesota National Guard.

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Nash and other military officials will attend as observers to the powwow during the Grand Entry and Honoring of the Veterans at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“Not every powwow can say they had a two-star general attend,” Whitebird said.

In the past there have been about 800 dancers, 200-300 veterans and 40 drummers from all over the U.S. and Canada participating in the powwow.

This year 30 drummers are signed up, including award-winning Midnight Express.

A group of 20 or so patriot motorcyclists usually make an appearance at the powwow every year.

Local World War II veteran, 95-year-old Robert Bassett, the oldest Fond du Lac veteran, will be among those honored during Saturday's ceremony.

Historically, Native Americans have the highest record of military service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. Today, there are nearly 190,000 American Indian and Alaska Native military veterans, according to Department of Defense statistics.

“All veterans are more than welcome to participate,” Whitebird said.

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After the honor ceremony, enjoy a day of dancing and drumming competitions.

Admire the beautiful detail in the handmade regalia, from ornate beading to the regal bustles from the different tribes during the dancing.

Vendors will sell a variety of products, from food to crafts during the entire weekend.

A free feast of meat, mashed potatoes and vegetables will be available at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The event winds down Sunday with a Grand Entry at 1 p.m. and a free lunch of sandwiches at 3 p.m.

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