What’s different about the Gathering compared to other Powwows?

While there are many Powwows held off reservations we are the only Powwow hosted by the descendants of settlers welcoming the indigenous population back to their ancestral home. We don’t just entertain people we educate them and bring them together for healing, understanding, and connection.

Why is this important?

Healing can’t begin until we acknowledge the wrongs and pain from the past, by bringing our communities together in open discussion and acceptance we can begin that healing process. We have a talk circle every year for that very reason.

What is the name for what dancers wear during powwows?

Our dancers are adorned in “regalia” because it is their “best most formal attire”.  The time,  money, protocol and ceremony it takes to get all these pieces together is tremendous.   Please don’t call them costumes as a costume is used to fake another identity and regalia is used to retain their true identity.

Each dancer prayerfully creates his/her own regalia and each component has historical, spiritual, and personal significance. The regalia is believed to be a personal part of the dancer and is often gifted or passed from one generation to the next. Some items maybe very old. Because they are so special, please do not touch any part of a dancer’s regalia without permission even if something has fallen to the ground.

What is the WDUA’s purpose?

The WDUA strives to create sustainable alliances  and reconciliation among indigenous nations and the Winona community with a mutual understanding that we are all related. To provide meaningful education of historical truths and of current Native American societal, political, and environmental issues.

How did the WDUA get it’s start?

The Winona Dakota Unity Alliance (WDUA) began in response to the Grand Excursion 04 (GE04), the 150th anniversary of the original Grand Excursion, under the direction of President Millard Fillmore.

The original excursion was a flotilla of paddle wheel steamships celebrating the opening of the upper Mississippi to large boat traffic, providing travelers opportunities to see the newly acquired western lands opening for development.

Cities visited by the original flotilla along the upper Mississippi were encouraged to plan celebratory events for visiting passengers and communities. The City of Winona organized a GE04 committee to plan the local events. In the process, it became apparent that the American Indians of the upper Mississippi and the impact of the original Grand Excursion on their histories and daily lives had not been included in the celebration. The Winona committee wanted to recognize formally and include the Dakota people who had inhabited the area before the opening of the west.

A new subcommittee was formed which became the future basis of the WDUA


For more frequently asked questions about Tribes and Reservations visit the U.S Bureau of Indian Affairs