The Mascoutin Society is a Chicagoland based non-profit organization whose goal is to spread Native American culture and traditions by providing Native events and activities to the general public, while assisting Native American families and students with financial and non-financial aid. The idea of a Native American organization that would actively promote the culture of the Native American in the Chicagoland area actually began in 1950. At that time there were a number of Boy Scout Native American dance groups that followed the traditions of the Native Americans in numerous ways. In addition to dancing, camping using Tipis instead of tents, preparing Native American types of foods, playing Native American games, making their own clothing outfits and holding Pow-Wow’s.
Officially the birth date of the Mascoutin Society is February 16, 1956. The first president and principle organizer was John Lotter, the leader of the Hokshila Ska Dancers, Explorer Post 691, Thatcher Woods Area, B.S.A. The leaders of active dancing groups were, Ray Douglas, of the Tribe of Delavan, Mrs. Edna Maloney of the Kodas, John Lotter, of the Hokshila Ska, the Lakotas, Tatankas, Mrs. Earl Staley of the Wici Cala Ska, and with other adults of various groups. The name "Mascoutin" was adopted, this name was given to us by Dick Becker, a long time student of the Native Americans. The first O-Sa-Wan Pow-Wow was in Bedford Park, IL.
We have had an annual Pow-Wow, called the O-Sa-Wan, that has been held in various places in the Chicagoland area that have been available. A Winter Social is held every year to raise funds to support the O-Sa-Wan Pow-Wow and to furnish money for the Family Aid fund that can be used to alleviate some of the problems that Native American Students have while attending College or trade school. This fund is small and is available by application to those Native Americans who; attempts by word and deed to live his/her life in service to community, practices traditional American Indian values and has the desire to make future contributions to Native American culture after graduation. There is an application available online with all the requirements at www.mascoutin.com. We have an annual Workshop to work with youth and adults to continue Native American teachings.
The Mascoutin Society holds a winter social with a free meal to all who want to attend. This event is a social family event that is held to raise funds for the summer Pow-Wow as well as our Family Aid funds. This is an evening event that starts with our meal, has a small Pow-Wow, raffles, a cake walk and various contests to make the evening fun. This is a fellowship evening that the whole family can attend.
This is an annual Pow-Wow that is held in the Chicagoland that features two days of Intertribal dancing and singing, Native American Indian Market that features vendors selling handcrafted jewelry, arts, beadwork and cultural items. Visit a Food vendor selling Native American Tacos and frybread or try your luck with a raffle ticket for a Native American blanket or quilt. This event is open to the public and is a family event for spectators and participants to be immersed in Native American culture. We have a midnight auction that raises money for the Scholarship Fund.
The Mascoutin Society of Chicagoland also sponsors a workshop designed to teach both basic and intermediate craft skills used in outfit construction and dance. These workshops provide participants the fundamentals needed to make O.A. outfit parts and participate in the dancing at Native American Pow-Wows.
Workshops feature such seminars as: how to do heddle loom beading, how to do lazy stitch and applique beadwork, how to make chokers and dream-catchers, how to construct leather bags, bustle construction, how to make rosettes, roach construction, hand ornaments, shawl construction, outfit construction, learning about birds of prey, how to finger weave, learn how to dance, and etiquette as it pertains to dance, drum, and arena.
In addition to the workshops we feature an informal Saturday evening Pow-Wow and dance competition for both boys and girls in outfit - ages 10 thru 20 years of age. There will also be an adult competition ages 21 and up. A special dance for kids also takes place so our younger dancers so can show their stuff. Fun and fellowship are the most important ingredients for our event.
So for the past 50+ years we have in a general sense fulfilled the basic tenets laid down by the founding fathers, and hope that our successors will continue to enjoy their interest in the culture of the Native American.
We are guided by our service to community, wisdom, courage, generosity, fortitude, compassion, patience, honesty, respect, and humility.