At The Pow Wow

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It is always hot at the Pow Wow.  I usually manage to go and it is always hot.  By now I have learned to wear a big hat or bring an umbrella for shade and to sit on the east side of the dance ring where there is a little shelter from the burning sun.  The Pow Wow is another world.  My rules do not apply.  There is always a long line up for tickets or for food because the most efficient way has not been adhered to.  However, cold water costs only one dollar a bottle because “no one should be thirsty on a hot day”.  I am not allowed to have wine with my picnic lunch.  I will stand when the veterans bring in the flags to open the dancing and I will not take pictures of people dancing with an eagle feather.  I’ve seen disrespectful youngsters physically removed from the stands in the past… a lady security guad.  There is something refreshing about being a guest in a place so close to my home.  When I read the sign, “This is Indian land”  I nod and think to myself, “Yes, it is.”  No political correctness here.  A lot of straight talk and respect from the visitors and the hosts.  I love the drumming, the regalia, the corny jokes of the MC.  I love the big old trees that surround the dance ground, the tents selling skins or hair ornaments or food you’ll never find anywhere else.  I love the breeze from the water that brings a sigh from the people in the stands.  I love the patience of people who are constantly being asked to stand for a photo.  I love the little ones dancing with their elders.  I love the beadwork and the colorful costumes, traditional or neon modern.  Today I stood close to the drummers and saw the group of about eight men follow the high keening voice of the lead singer and harmonize with him in those cries that accompany the solid beat of the drum.  When it was over one of them took a drag of a cigarette and with his hand wafted the smoke over his face and head like a blessing, like incense.  If the dancers were old or fat, if they were toddlers or sober middle aged men and women, if they were giddy teenagers or babies in the arms of their beautiful mothers, they were all floating on the sound of those drums.  Their feet were as light as a little fox’s paws, they twirled around like snowflakes in a high wind.  They were celebrating and celebrated.  I liked being there.  I love the Pow Wow no matter how hot it is because sometimes it is good to be hot.



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