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Hollywood Seminole seniors take Minnesota by storm

By: Wanda Bowers
Tribal Elder

On Tuesday morning, Aug. 13, 2019, about 40 Seminole seniors from the Hollywood Reservation boarded American Airlines in Miami and took a direct flight to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota.

This began our senior trip, Shokapee, here we come!

We arrived in Minnesota around noon, so the first thing we did was have lunch in town.

A sign welcomes the Seminole Tribal Elders to the wacipi, or pow-wow, in Minnesota. (Courtesy photo)

Then to keep with tradition, we stopped at Walmart. After an hour or so we all loaded back up on the bus one by one.

Some had cases of water, others had snacks for the weekend, and someone had a bag of socks? Wonder who that was? Anyway, as long as Dan got his bologna, cheese and bread.

We were all happy to head on out to the hotel. We arrived at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, checked in then we were on our own.

Once that was known, we all cleared out and no one was seen until the next morning for breakfast.

During the Hollywood Reservation’s seniors trip to Minnesota in August, Wanda Bowers, center, enjoys meeting Scott and Kella With Horn, who are both Navajo and dance Northern Traditional. (Courtesy photo)

We started our first day of adventure to the Shakopee Cultural Center. We watched a short video called the “Creation Story.”

After the video we went straight to the gift shop. Of course we had to do some shopping; there were fleece blankets, Native print table covers, sea shells, postcards.

Lawanna Osceola-Niles with Sharon Roberts, Southern Cloth Dancer. (Coutesy photo)

I can’t remember everything but I tell you what, we had that cashier going for about an hour of ringing up our sales.

You’d think we were done shopping but, no we weren’t, we wanted to buy more! So Elizabeth found a little single wide trailer that said “Trading Post” on it.

I called it the smallest trading post in Minnesota.

I think we scared that sales lady in there too! We all went in there to shop for more stuff.

We all squeezed in there looking around and saying excuse me, excuse me, but that was fine. We took it slow.

Kenny Tommie and Loretta Micco enjoy desserts during a meal for the Hollywood seniors trip. (Courtesy photo)

We looked like ants in there going round and round and stopping, looking, going again.

After one was done shopping they would go back to the bus and so on and so on.

Finally, we were done. Then we headed back to the hotel and got ready for the nightlife, which was the slot machines!

Our next adventure was the Mall of America. Oh my gosh, I thought I could handle it, but nope after an hour my feet were killing me, but I continued on, as we all did.

Kella With Horn, Lakota Women Warriors Color Guard and Army veteran, holds up a Seminole Tribal Fair & Pow-Wow flier at the Shakopee Pow-Wow in August. (Courtesy photo)

They all went their own way, some went to lunch, some went shopping some got lost but then was found.

As usual I went to Hard Rock Café for lunch and met up with some of the staff who were also having lunch.

After lunch we went to watch the Native American dance exhibition. There I met up with some old friends from the pow-wow world.

Juaquin Hamilton, from Oklahoma, was the emcee.

He recognized the Seminole senior group from Hollywood, Florida, and welcomed us.

I ran into Ronnie Jr., who grabbed me into round dancing with him. It was fun, but I needed oxygen after that.

Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. acts as a waiter for the camera and for Barbara Osceola. (Courtesy photo)

It was great seeing all my old friends again; it was just like seeing an old family member. Everyone enjoyed themselves watching the different dances and dance competition.

But, as all good things must come to an end, we loaded back up on the bus and headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

We also had a trip to Paisley Park on Friday where we visited Prince’s home.

We took the tour through his house and took pictures outside in front of his house.

There is a strict rule about no photography inside. Heading back to the hotel we met up with the Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. at the Steak House in the Shokapee Hotel.

From left, Barbara Osceola, Mary Moore, Loretta Micco, Lawanna Osceola-Niles, Polly Osceola Hayes and Wanda Bowers enjoy their trip to the Mall of America, the largest mall in the United States. (Courtesy photo)

Of course we all had steak and good conversation among each other.

The Chairman made his way around the tables to say hello to everyone and enjoyed our conversation of the day and what we were expecting for tonight.

Then POW-WOW TIME. We were received very well. The pow-wow committee announced to the crowd and the dancers that the Seminole Tribal elders from Florida were attending the pow-wow.

We also got to have our own seating area at the pow-wow that the Tribe/committee designated for us for the weekend along with a Tribal group from Canada.

There was more shopping, but this time it was with Native vendors that set up at the pow-wow.

Boy, you talk about up and down walking. I thought I was on a treadmill just to go look around, but that didn’t stop us.

STOF staff gather for a photo during the trip. From left, Janet Gerena, Joe Kippenberger, Jayne Salgado, Juan Salazar, Elizabeth Bridon and Javon Hill. (Courtesy photo)

We did it, just very slowly so we didn’t miss anything. By the time I got back to the hotel my legs were so sore. But I went back the next day. All in all we had a great time.

Our last day there, Sunday, we took a trip to Twin Cities Premium Outlets. The most purchased item was a large suitcase for everyone, because we bought so much stuff.

When we were together at our meals we talked about our family, told what we bought that day, cracked jokes on each other, and mainly enjoyed each other’s company.

Mary Moore holds an album by the late music star and Minnesotan Prince outside of Prince’s estate, which the Seminole seniors toured. (Courtesy photo)

A lot of reminiscing was done and we just laughed the whole weekend.

We would like to thank the Hollywood Senior staff for all their help, guidance, support and a few laughs with them also.

Joe Kippenberger, Elizabeth, Jayne, Javon, Jane, and the EMT staff.

From Elizabeth Bridon: “I’m so glad you really enjoyed yourself. My biggest reward on these trips is knowing that the elders truly enjoy themselves.”

We had a great time in Minnesota, but, it’s always good to come home.