Dancing For My Tribe

Dancing For My Tribe Comes to Rochester
Photos of Potawatomi Regalia in the New Millennium: Sept. 15 at FCHS museum.
By Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian

A program and exhibit of nearly life-size photographic portraits of contemporary Potawatomi Indians in regalia will be presented Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fulton County Museum, Rochester, Indiana. The portraits by photographer Sharon Hoogstraten (member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation) are part of a program the evening before the Trail of Courage Living History Festival Sept. 16-17.

Sharon’s family is the honored Potawatomi family at the festival this year. Each year a different Potawatomi family is honored and their history published in the Rochester Sentinel and in a commemorative folder available in the replica Chippeway Village post office at the festival and in the museum.

The public is invited to the program and exhibit which includes several transparent images. Also nearly life size, these include photos of Potawatomi Powwow dancers and a scene from the Trail of Death - the giant oak tree west of Jacksonville, Illinois. This old tree was there when the Potawatomi were marched past it in 1838 on the forced removal from Indiana to Kansas. The tree is so big that it takes eight men to link hands to reach around it.

Sharon will be honored at the opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Sept. 16, during the Trail of Courage. She will be presented a Key to the City by Mayor Ted Denton. She will tell her family’s history 10:30 - 11:00 on the Chippeway Village stage. She will also be honored at the Indian dances from 2 to 3 p.m.

Sharon lives in Chicago and has been a photographer for 45 years. Her studio is located in the Logan Square neighborhood. Interestingly, many of her Potawatomi ancestors lived in Chicago until 1838.

In 2010 Sharon began her project of photographing CPN members in formal regalia. With the help of a grant from Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Shawnee, Ok., she has photographed Potawatomi from the all of the Potawatomi tribe’s nine Nations dressed in their personal regalia which they designed and created to reflect their own stories.

Sharon will begin work on a book of these portraits called “Dancing for My Tribe” later this year.

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This page updated Aug 17, 2017.