Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pow Wow Time ...

I grew up going to them

and I still LOVE going to them!  I attend about three or four each year.  I do not take two or three week vacations in Hawaii, Spain, Mexico or Australia but I do take long four or five day "camping at the pow wow grounds" vacations with my family and my sister's family.  The spirit in the atmosphere is like a big huge family reunion!  Families from various parts of the country create friendships which almost bind them as family. I will share a short true story about how friends bond and generations stay connected thru our Native American Pow Wow's.

She quietly placed her chair next to mine

as I was busily tending to my first born child.  It was at the Spokane Tribe Labor Day Powwow 1995.  A big traditional game of chance (stickgame) was preparing to start and when a "big game" is ready to start, well you better make sure you have a good place to sit, in your lawn chair, in order to watch the game.... 

I was born into a long line of participants in this traditional game of chance; which we call "stickgame".  A part of playing stickgame is to sing traditional songs which is accompanied by pounding sticks together (and more recently hand drums) to keep a rhythmical tone with the stickgame song.  My family possess songs which have survived multi-generational transfer, which is a beautiful success in my opinion; we possess the songs because the songs "came to" or presented themselves to our family leader, generations ago therefore the songs "belong to him/the family".  To sing the songs (for me) is a spiritual connection to all my family who sang our songs in the past.  I also feel, as I sing, I am sending forward a calling of remembrance in my family to those yet born. 

As I sat in my lawn chair preparing for the "big stickgame" I noticed she quietly sat next to me and positioned her chair very close to mine.  Growing up at the stickgames I only knew her as "Mrs. Moon" as her husband's last name was Moon (and everyone just called him by his last name).  She is much much older than I and have never had the opportunity to socialize with her.

Mrs. Moon patiently sits and watches me tend to my child and when the chance occurs for her to speak she said, "So....he must be about 2 years old by now, huh?"  I replied, "Yes, your right he is 2 yrs. now."  To which she said, "I remember seeing you pregnant with him and now you have a son, that's good!".  Then she said, "I remember seeing you (and your sister) when you both were about 2 and 3 years old, I also remember seeing your mother when she was pregnant with you!  Oooohhh she looked miserable at the Yakama Powwow" (which is very HOT weather during July 4th, I was born at the end of the month).  I thought, "Wow!  She witnessed MY MOTHER pregnant with ME, saw me (and my sister) when we were lil-diaper-wearing-snot-nosed babies at the stickgames and then witnessed ME pregnant with my SON!."

Mrs. Moon then shared with me (which I never knew)..... "your grandmother and I met many, many years ago.  She was very kind to me and always welcomed me and my husband to her camp for a meal during the powwow.  I came to love your grandmother like a sister and was heartbroken when she passed away .... thats how I came to start watching you girls grow up because your grandmother was always kind to my family."

After Mrs. Moon shared her heart with me the impact of how our Native American powwows are capable of creating life long friendships made me feel "happy".  

As a matter of fact.....I notice I am at the (very) beginning stages of seeing kids I knew when they were little 2 and 3 year olds now having children themselves.  (I said only the VERY BEGINNING stages....)

"I LOVE our Native American Powwows - its like a big family reunion". 

Heading East for a long weekend - going to a powwow to see old and new friends.