I’m hoping to see dandelions soon because I feel happy when I do. Their appearance means Spring has come and Summer follows. Powwow season will also be here because even if we dance indoors during cold weather I know Indians of this Turtle Island like to feel our Mother under our feet.
Again, I quote a non-Indian friend photographer from back in college, “I have never seen people step so lightly upon the ground”. I treasure his observation and I remember his words every time I see our Native Nations dancing. We are still dancing even though we were to have been exterminated, and erased from history. Dancing for our Ancestors who fought bravely and to the death for our homelands; dancing for the generations to come so they too can dance in their honor.
In Native country there is always a Veterans’ Honor Guard that leads the powwow to show appreciation for the people who chose to serve our country. I could statistics here, but per capita Indian’s have volunteered for military service more than any other ‘race’. I used to wonder why some did after all the U.S. government did to try and kill us, and got this answer: This was our country first. Even before we became legal U.S. citizens Our people volunteered for the military and fought America’s enemies. Let that sink in for a bit.
Of all the powwows coming up this summer I must mention in particular one in Minnesota on the Fond du Lac Reservation. The Fond du Lac Veterans Powwow has been attracting more people year after year, but this one will be different. I don’t have exact dates or time as of this writing, but the Vietnam Traveling Wall will be on display days before the powwows Grand Entry on July 8 at 7 p.m. The Wall itself will have an escort of hundreds of Bikers until it’s placement. The Fond du Lac Veterans Powwow will be July 8-10, 2016.
Having met and know Vietnam veterans I tear up because of the hostile political environment they returned to here in the States. It was undeserved misdirected hate and they deserve our acknowledgement for putting themselves in deadly harm. I have been to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. twice and the magnitude of the loss does not become less; rather it is more relevant considering our current situation in the Middle East.
My own father, Jerome George Charette served in the U.S. Air Force and was on a fuel re-charging plane where his airplane refueled another one in the air. I can’t even imagine. I can only hope I inherited his genes of bravery and resilience.
I encourage anyone and everyone who has never attended a powwow to find one near them and do please go! Bring your families, eat moose or buffalo stew and the iconic frybread that is everywhere in Indian Country. And acknowledge that this land where you are standing, living, working, playing, hunting, fishing is the land of the First Peoples.
Okay, the powwow rules. When you see the Indians stand up, you do too. When they are quiet you zip it. No filming during Grand Entries or when spiritual blessings are going on. No, that is not and has never been cannabis being smoked in the “Peace Pipe”. We pray to the Four Directions and each has it’s special meaning. We offer the smoke up to the skies and to our Mother Earth in gratefulness for the blessings bestowed so that we may live well.
I offer yooz no other advice, except honor your life-source, which is what we Indigenous peoples call Turtle Island. Hey, we went through The Great Flood also; it’s not just biblical. Before organized religions we were more alike than not.
As for me, I graduated to using a cane to walk so I don’t imagine myself actually dancing at the powwow this summer, but I can at least shuffle around and get me some hugs n frybread. Now I have something to look forward to! Been alone too long, I need to hear the drums and jingles.
We never left, we are still here and the Revolution has begun.