Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, always the first entry in the Parade of Nations procession,
also opens the multicultural festival with a dancing and drumming exhibition. This
year, the tribe takes on another leadership role: Tribal Council President Warren
“Chris” Swartz Jr. is the 2018 Grand Marshal.
Parade of Nations and Multicultural Festival, founded and organized by Michigan Technological University, takes place Saturday, September 15, beginning at 11 a.m. in Hancock and culminating
in the festival at Dee Stadium in Houghton. This year’s food-and-music theme, “Global Beats, International Treats,” is rooted in the event’s beginnings: Michigan Tech’s Betty Chavis was inspired
to demystify the unfamiliar aromas of international cooking in the community, and
unite people from all countries through an appreciation of tasty food from around
The global beats include the traditional drums of KBIC; the sovereign nation has long
been part of the Parade of Nations and Multicultural Festival soundscape. And another first: the tribe’s float entries have taken top spots in
the community category the past two years.
KBIC makes participation in the Parade of Nations and Multicultural Fest a multigenerational
The first-place float in the community category in the 2017 Parade of Nations.
Swartz, who recently agreed to serve as 2018 Parade of Nations Grand Marshal, was
born on the south shore of Keweenaw Bay in Zeba, on KBIC reservation lands. In his
biography, the devoted family man describes his five years of duty in the U.S. Air
Force as a major turning point in his life. The former tribal police officer and game
warden, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a carpenter, has served as a KBIC
council member since 2001—10 of those 17 years as president.Those who would like to understand and witness traditional ceremonial drumming and
dancing don’t have to wait until Parade of Nations. The 2018 annual Keweenaw Bay Maawanji-iding,
or Pow-wow, is this weekend, …