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Everyone welcome to Goodezhiin Spiritual Day

PONEMAH -- In May, descendants of Goodezhiin, a notable Red Lake man born in 1845, gathered at the Seven Clans Event Center in Red Lake to renew their connections.

On Sunday, they will come together again during the Ponemah Labor Day Powwow to celebrate Goodezhiin Spiritual Day and welcome visitors who would like to join in the day of honor.

A flag-raising at 9 a.m. will start the day, followed by the Goodezhiin Spiritual Ride, Walk and Run from Ponemah Point to the powwow grounds. The six-mile route follows the trail Goodezhiin -- whose English name is Charly "Paint" Johnson -- would run as a messenger for the band.

"It was his responsibility to notify the communities of any important event -- a birth, a death, a ceremony, a powwow -- which was deemed important to share," said Delores Cloud-Hammitt, a Goodezhiin descendant, genealogy researcher and spiritual day organizer.

Participants can choose to run the full distance or start at one of the other mile markers. There is no registration fee for the event.

"It's noncompetative. There are no prizes," said Cloud-Hammitt. "There will be a small prize for children. They can use their bicycles if they want. It's a fun run."

She said organizers could still use more volunteers to hand out water at mile markers and to shuttle participants to their preferred starting points. To volunteer, call Cloud-Hammitt at 766-1914.

"There's going to be a caravan of cars because not everybody can run," Cloud-Hammitt said.

Goodezhiin descendants will serve a noon light lunch at the powwow grounds. "We're having cold salads, cold sandwiches, desserts and water," Cloud-Hammitt said, adding anyone who would like to donate food for the lunch should give her a call.

At 2 p.m., Goodezhiin descendants will enter the powwow arena in grand entry style to the Honorable Old Chief Song by the Kingbird Drum group. "This will be the first time in many years this song will be heard," she said.

The last fourth-generation survivor, Harry Johnson Jr., 86, who will be escorted by Spiritual Leader Larry Stillday (sixth generation), is scheduled lead the descendants' grand entry. They will be followed by all Goodezhiin descendants who are U.S. military veterans, Red Lake princesses and braves, tribal council members, county elected officials and outstanding athletes.

The event also will feature the Goodezhiin Men's Traditional Dance Special contest with prizes of $500, $300 and $200.

Cloud-Hammitt has asked that all Goodezhiin descendants who own powwow regalia to wear their special outfits. "We are honoring our traditional heritage," she said. "Be proud of your heritage."