He was well-known and admired for his energetic and unique style of educational programs he called “edu-tainment” that informed audiences about Native culture and history. He emphasized with ICTMN in an interview in 2015, that “the weekend event includes a pow wow but is mostly a festival, which is more inclusive than a traditional pow wow. There are vendors from around the country and a showcase of international dancers.” Wolfe said he wanted, ”the viewing public to reflect on indigenous peoples from many cultures.”
Chipa Wolfe was of Indian and French descent, and his production company, Rolling Thunder Enterprises, has held the Mother’s Day pow wow and festival for over a quarter-century. Originally called Lone Eagle Productions, Chipa re-named his company after his beloved pet Bison “Thunder,” who passed away in June of 2014.
One of the annual events during the festival was a demonstration of “Warriors on Horseback.” Chipa and a friend John Stikes, portrayed a Native American vs. a US Cavalry Soldier who cross paths while each was on horseback. The pair demonstrated hand to hand combat in a historical sense. Chipa explained, “it’s a dance/drama to a song known as a sneak-up. Yes, it is a re-enactment as we do not mean to perpetuate stereotypes but these things did happen.”
Chipa’s horse, Jackson carried him through many shows. This year Jackson donned a stunning three piece beaded regalia created by artist Paul Berryhill. Jackson displayed this beautiful beaded work in the arena during the family’s receiving line, which followed Chipa’s honor song and dedication held on Sunday May 8th.
After the receiving line concluded, a purple blanket was laid in the arena center for visitors to contribute funds to the family to help with medical bills. If you would like to help the family with medical bills and contribute to Cecilia’s education please visit the family’s GoFundMe memorial page.
During the various arena events of the weekend, emcee and friend Jody Gaskin would occasionally call out to the audience to loudly make noise in unison for Chipa. The crowd would enthusiastically shout out his name or cheer.
On the back of the emcee/drum tent hung a large memorial canvas with Chipa’s image and his familiar expression, “Have a Happy Day!” a phrase he often used instead of saying goodbye. Guests were invited to sign or leave a note of remembrance on the memorial.