Annual Festival of Wild Onions April 27-28, 2019

Submitted by Barney Bush

When the early Europeans saw Native Americans eating wild onions as well as other wild greens, they quickly adapted. The vitamins and minerals in these greens saved lives. They are the most beneficial at this time of year.
Today, Native Americans from all over the Southeast still gather wild onions or “shik’a’gowi’sheke” as they are known to us in the Shawnee language. Many descendants of the Vinyard Indian Settlement still carry on this traditional use of plants. On April 27th and 28th, 2019, the Vinyard Indian Settlement will be hosting the annual Festival of Wild Onions and invite interested persons, friends and family to come share with us. Because of another severe winter, the festival is late again this year.
It is important to note the following: We need volunteers to show up around 10:00 A.M. on Saturday to help dig onions. We should leave no later than 10:30 A.M. from VIS. (Permission to dig on private property has been obtained.) When we return in the afternoon, we will need help with cleaning the onions. Tools will be provided as well as tea, coffee and spring water. You may want to bring personal snacks and wear sturdy shoes. Bring your children and get them involved in this harvest. Traditional foods will be served randomly throughout the day.
Workshops and guest speakers’ program has been confirmed. Watch FB for detailed announcement for Saturday and Sunday.
Although we no longer have a head singer or official grounds keeper, a gathering will occur after sundown Saturday night at the stomp grounds. All are welcome to attend. Women wishing to attend please wear long skirts or dresses as tradition requires. Also, we request that no one bring recording equipment, cameras nor cell phones to the dance grounds. This is a traditional event for us here at the Vinyard Indian Settlement and insist upon giving it the respect that it deserves regardless of acculturation or the misrepresentation by those who have a history of disrespect.
On Sunday, weather permitting, we will eat outside; if not, we will eat inside. We will gather with workshops throughout the afternoon. Some of our relatives have indicated they wish to bring food (blackberry cobblers, fried pies, wild grape pudding). We encourage you to search your memories of foods prepared for such events when you or your grandparents were children. Oklahoma relatives used to bring “sofki”, a Creek dish, and other traditional foods through the end of WW II and the early fifties. If you wish to bring a covered dish, please remember to use traditional foods where possible (no chain-store cakes, cookies, deli items, chips, soda pops, etc., please).
Descendants of the Vinyard Indian Settlement who have not enrolled with the community of your ancestors will have an opportunity to begin the process. If you know your lineage as a descendant of the Vinyard Indian Settlement, please request an enrollment application. All persons eighteen (18 years) and older must request their applications individually and in person.
We are located approximately one mile northwest of Herod on Highway 34 on the left if you are coming from the south; on the right, of course, if you’re coming from Saline County. A rugged sign that reads Vinyard Indian Settlement stands near the driveway. The hard rains have about washed us out; use caution. You may reach us by phone: 618.264.5909. If you get lost, call us and we will guide you in by phone. If you have GPS, post 1027 State Highway 34 South, Herod, IL 62947.
This is an alcohol and illegal-drug free environment.

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