Generosity in the Powwow

Written by Breelyn McMahon


This children’s story is inspired by the Epilogue: Returning the Gift in the Braiding Sweetgrass book. In this children’s story, a young boy named Generosity learns about the meaning behind his name, while giving a gift in the gift exchange of his tribe’s powwow. Through the use of creation of the berries, Generosity creates a crown to give in the gift exchange and learns the meaning behind his name during the powwow. This story teaches children about generosity and how to create things out of the items around them.

Keywords: generosity, Powwow, Potawatomi

The summer powwow for the Potawatomi is an extravagant party that happens every summer. Before the powwow begins, it is tradition to bring a gift to give away during the powwow. A young boy by the name of Generosity, is very excited for the summer powwow and he is finally allowed to bring a gift to give during the giveaway.

During the summer at the tribe of the Potawatomi, fields of green and red raspberries, and different fruits fill the tribe’s land. Generosity loves to walk through the fields, and pick berries off of the stems. His mind filled with thoughts of what to bring to the giveaway. Generosity is very worried because he does not have any money, or anything to get a brand-new item for this giveaway. Generosity sits down in the field, and starts to look at his surroundings. A black bird lands a few rows away from him, the bird has a red stained beak from eating the berries off the stems.

As Generosity sits in the field, playing with a stem from the berry he has just eaten, he starts to grab more stems that he has placed on the ground, and starts to tie them together. While he is tying the stems together, Generosity realizes something. He could connect each of these stems and turn them into a crown, so Generosity got to work on creating his crown. Once the base of his crown is set, he walks through the field with the first piece of his crown looking for things to add to it to make it more extravagant. After this, he sees berries and flowers that he can twine into the base of the crown, Generosity picks berries and flowers and starts to weave them into his crown. After a few hours of work, he is finally complete with his masterpiece. Generosity brings his crown home, and waits for the powwow to begin the next morning.

On the day of the powwow, everyone is gathered around dancing and enjoying each other’s company. Generosity sees the pile of gifts and goes over to place his crown on the pile. There are a bunch of different things gathered in the pile, toys, different creations, things that people do not need any more from their homes. After Generosity places his crown on the pile, he goes over to his mother and asks her a question. “Mother, why am I named Generosity?” “Well, because I knew that when you grew up, and as you are continuing to grow you will be a generous boy.” “What does Generous mean Mother?” “Generous is when someone is eager to give something more than necessary or expected.” “So I am a generous boy?” “Yes you are, I can tell how hard you worked on your gift for the giveaway today, that is generous in itself, you did not know what you were going to give, so you made something. You made something more than expected and gave a beautiful gift.”

After this discussion with his mother, Generosity and the rest of the tribe gather to start the giveaway, it is time for Generosity’s crown to be given, he grabs his gift, and brings it to his meeting place where he is trading with another young boy. This young boy has brought one of his old toys, and is trading it with Generosity. The young boys traded their gifts and each of them were so excited! They danced around with their toy, and their crown and enjoyed the rest of the powwow.


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Humanizing Science through STEAM Challenges Copyright © 2021 by E.J. Bahng and John M. Hauptman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.