WINNEBAGO, Neb. (KMTV) — The people of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and their loved ones are reuniting this weekend at the annual Winnebago Homecoming Celebration.
After over a year of pandemic shutdowns, music is once again filling the air at the Winnebago Veterans Memorial Park as Native people from near and far celebrate the 155th Annual Winnebago Powwow.
Isaac Smith, an arena manager at the powwow, says it’s a time to reunite with loved ones.
“You may not have seen a friend or maybe it’s a high school buddy from a long time ago, and you’re just now meeting back in the arena," Smith said.
Daulton Sheridan, a member of the Omaha Tribe who has been coming to the celebration for years, says it's a place where you can let some of the worries of the past year go.
“It’s good healing," Sheridan said. "If you’re having a bad time at home or a job, anything, anything like that, you come up here, sit down, enjoy singing and dancing. If you feel it get out there and dance during the tribal. You feel way better.”
This year is especially healing after missing out on that connection for over a year.
“All around native country, it all got shut down last year," Sheridan said. "And then this year, they’re just now picking it up.”
The organizers want to make sure the powwow is fun, but also safe for the community, especially their elders. They’re requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination at the gate.
“If something was to go on with the elders, there’s a lot of knowledge that they carry, and that’s how things get passed on," Smith said. "If we’re not able to protect them, then we’re not doing a good thing.”
With their minds at ease, the attendees are focused on one thing.
“Good vibes," Sheridan said with a laugh. "Good vibes good feelings. That’s what it's all about.”
Smith said that's what he wants to see all the visitors experience this weekend.
“That good feeling is what we’re hoping that everybody takes," Smith said.
The Winnebago Homecoming Celebration will continue this weekend. They welcome all vaccinated guests to attend.
The celebration is being held at 3115 BIA 17, in Winnebago, Nebraska. Vaccine cards are required for entrance. Masks are required indoors on the reservation regardless of vaccination status.