Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Native American pow wow

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


The South Plainsman said...

Don't get lost out there in the dark, kemo sabe.

Ken Martin said...

Nice post, George. I attended the powwow in Austin at Toney Burger fieldhouse. The drums reverberating inside that building, the dancing, moved me to tears. How can such an experience *not* make us sorrowful for what white men did to native Americans?

Anonymous said...

Do you see now why so many of us are incensed by the Atlanta Braves' "tomahawk chop" during their games?


JohnSBoles said...

We consider ourselves the indigenous people of this land, now. Our own history explains our fear of aliens. Doesn't matter if those aliens come from across the border or eventually across the cosmos. We know that when aliens arrive we will be told where and how to live.

It is a shame that we haven't progressed beyond those fears. The overwhelming majority of others want the same life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we do, even when couched in different religion or lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Linda, get a grip! My grandmother was full blood indian and I'll assure you that I have never met,personally,an Indian that got in a dither about some teams acting out an Indian mannerism.
I have never desired to scalp someone because they made a gesture that was a tradition for their team.---Goose

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