DATELINE: Prairie Island Indian Community, Minnesota
My first pow wow. What an incredible experience. Uniquely Native American. The grace. Exquisite and powerful at the same time. The diversity of their outfits was striking. A day later, I am absolutely awash with feelings.
They dance to honor life, their culture, community, family, the Earth, the Creator – and their warriors. Traditions run deep. The Indians are fiercely patriotic. There was a special dance to honor their veterans complete with flags for the fallen. A Native American lifted an American Eagle around the grassy arena. The underlying theme is respect.
It took 27 minutes for the 700 dancers to make the Grand Entry. Dancers came from as far away as Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Saskatchewan. Eagle dancers, grass dancers, children dancers. Teenager dancers have adopted vibrant neon colors. Beautiful faces. Beautiful spirits. Many tribes.
European Americans have difficulty hearing the subtle tones within the songs and drums, but they are there. Native Americans, naturally, hear the differences. Perhaps it was sly humor, but we overheard Indians in the bleachers perk up at some new music: “That’s a good song. Let’s dance.”
You can dial up radio pow wow here.
(NOTE: tonight, we are walking down the Minnehaha Falls Park to take in Norway Day. The American melting pot is brim full right outside our front door.)
God bless Native America