A Capsule History of Our Origins
The Return to Pimiteoui Powwow began, as remarkable forces mixed in preparation for Peoria's Tri-Centennial Celebration in 1991. This year-long event began in September of 1991 with a re-enactment of Henri de Tonti's landing, and continued into 1992 as it commemorated the first settling of the French Peorias in 1691.
The 1691 Foundation with Rex Linder at the helm, was in charge of the event, and one part of the early planning, was the dream of holding a full-scale Native American Powwow, to celebrate the meeting of the French and Indians at Lake Pimiteoui. The original vision was of re-uniting the descendants of the first European settlers and the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma, as representatives of two cultures who lived in harmony together here, those long years past.
Carole Lakota Eastin was designated as a committee chairperson, to organize the event, since Carole and her family had long been key figures in furthering understanding of Native American culture in the Central Illinois Area. Carole conferred with the 1691 Foundation, Rex Linder, Linda Hampton and with Gloria LaHood, from the Peoria Historical Society, and also contacted the individuals from the Cental Illinois area that could help her begin the planning for the powwow, and the effort was launched.
Carole was a perfect choice to balance excellently the wishes of the Foundation for promotion of the event, with all of the concerns of finding the most appropriate manner of holding an Inter-Tribal Powwow as a part of the 300th birthday celebration.
It was a powerful dream! The Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma returned, and we celebrated our ancient ties with one another, in a beautiful way. Many other tribes from all over the country were also represented, and particularly, the Woodland Nations who once inhabited our area. The native people who returned for the event passed on to us their approval of what had been done and overwhelmingly encouraged us to continue this one-time event, as an annual Powwow. With the help of many leaders of Woodland Nations, we have pursued this goal, and with a good deal of success. The measure of this success are the mission and goals that have been established for the Powwow. In the attempt to satisfy these goals, nearly two hundred Chiefs, tribal leaders, Elders and other leaders of Native American activities were contacted, asking for their advice and inviting them to council with us to help us find the best paths to follow.
Since the Return to Pimiteoui Powwow draws from Native Peoples of many tribes encompassing diverse beliefs and traditions, it is a necessity that we have a policy of welcoming all traditions, and excluding none. This approach requires a great deal of diplomacy, and it is here that our long-time ceremonial director, Hayna Sine, has helped the group in a way that almost no one else could have done. Among the many gifts that he has given to the Powwow group, is a drafting of a concise statement of procedural goals for the group that serves as our checklist on our journey, and the foundation of our mission statement. Beyond that, his guidance on policy matters, his service as a ceremonial leader, his steadfastedness as a true friend and the genuine gift of his good humor, all have made him a vital pillar of this powwow. Thank you, Hayna.