Sunday, June 21, 2009

This Urban Native's Wanderings

Yesterday, I went to a pow wow about 30 minutes from my home. It is unusual to travel such a short distance. At the pow wow, conditions were soggy and they waited for the rain to stop. There was a sustained breeze and overcast conditions. Better this than the blast furnace of eighty plus degrees and high humidity.

When I go to pow wow, it is to meet other natives. Sometimes I feel native starved as if I am the only one in my town. There is my son, but he is at an age where heritage is not as captivating as fishing with dad is. I know there are other Native Americans, but I have recently started to purposefully seek the other nations represented where I live.

I have felt isolated from my people at times. Back on the rez, over 1,000 miles away, I am home, ankle deep in Mother Earth. I see others from the Great Sioux Nation and it feels wonderful to me. At home in Ohio, at the grocery store or any other place I feel like the only Indian in the building. I feel invisible.

It is good to talk with other Native Americans in a wide age range about historical events, regalia, opportunities, upcoming pow wows, and the meanings of the dances, or songs. I am still learning my culture. This particular pow wow was hosted by the Lenape. I saw, to me , another regalia style, the language the songs were sung were markedly different from Lakota, the entry into the arena for dance was sometimes counterclockwise. But I saw the nuances particular to the Lenape because I am more familiar now with my traditional ways. I am happy there are such markers of learning.

There is not enough time to learn all I want when I go home to visit my family. I am thankful I have family to see, a mom who teaches me the traditional ways, it's a time of resoration and renewal.

I saw a complete set of goose wings, fully extended, for sale at the pow wow yesterday. They reminded my of my mom, who raised me in Ohio, she loved Canada Geese. If she were still alive, she would frown at such use of the wings from one goose. But I saw the beauty in them because they reminded me of her gentle spirit. Those wings touched me in unknown ways yet. I didn't buy them, but I can't stop thinking of them.

Somehow, I feel more grounded in my culture. The smell of smudge transports me to another place, another time. The sound of the drumming and singing, no matter the nation helps my heart fly. I made a new friend, and it is always good to go to pow wow.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post. Maybe you could get a photo of those goose wings so you can gaze at them whenever you like?

    (Followed your MW post here.) Happy blogging!