Standing Bear Council Hosts Winter Gathering

The Standing Bear Council is hosting their Winter Gathering this weekend, January 25- 26, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, at the Oakley-Lindsay Center in Quincy. Admission is $5 for people 10 and older and $3 for those over 60; children 10 and under will be admitted free of charge.

This event celebrates the return of the Bald Eagle, the “King of Birds,” and coincides with Great River Eagle Days in Quincy. According to Council Chairman, Larry Cooper, “a Gathering is a time for all people to come together.” In the past, Gatherings were scheduled to coincide with the full moon in January to welcome the eagles back.

Most eagles go north at the End of the Eagle Walk in March; some have chosen to stay in the Tri-State area year round. At the same time the eagles are leaving, migrating birds such as the red-winged black birds and wood ducks are returning to the area.

The Winter Gathering honors American Indian culture through sacred ceremonies and various types of entertainment. The Black Fox Singers of Abingdon, Illinois, will accompany the American Indian dancers and the ceremonies. Rosa Brumett, will perform the Eagle Dance and the Fancy Shawl Dance both days. The Kahok Dancers will present interpretive dancing from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Michael Vera Eastmond performs with the Quincy Drum Circle on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; the drum circle’s presentation includes a program about singing bowls.

Grand Entry, honoring our nation’s veterans and those who are missing in action, is at 12:30 p.m.both days. During Grand Entry, the Eagle Staff represents American Indian nations as First Nation people and it is carried first and higher than the United States flag. Anytime the two flags are together, including side by side, the Eagle Staff is positioned higher than the United States flag.

The World Bird Sanctuary from Valley Park, Missouri, will present this year’s featured programs on birds of prey and eagles; one of the country’s largest wild-bird conservation facilities, the sanctuary provides refuge for over 270 non-releasable birds and emergency care for as many as 400 others each year. The Birds of Prey presentation is on Saturday from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. A preview is at 1:00 p.m. The eagles will be on display and will be included in a presentation on Sunday from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

American Indian vendors and food booths will be available both days. Authentic “Fry Bread” is on the menu! Children’s educational activities will be available. As Standing Bear Council Treasurer, Dona Herr notes the Council has “been able to grow our event each year with renowned performers and educational opportunities for all ages.” For more information, please contact Larry Cooper at 319-795-6718, Dona Herr at 319-520-5919; Leslie Haslem at 217-577-1930, or Debbie Callaghan at 217-219-1188.

Image: Steve Biro