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#417: Reflections From an Indian Powwow

Saturday, November 06, 2010

This afternoon I took my sister, niece Marisa (8) and nephews Evan (6), Chris (10) and T.J. (13) to the 24th annual American Indian Association Powwow in Orlando, FL. It was a gathering of tribes to sing, dance, visit, tell old stories, sell arts and craft items and to honor their elders and warriors in a celebration of Native American culture.

We may remember from our history classes that the story of our Native Americans is largely a sad one as they were driven from their lands onto reservations in the early years of America's development. I talked with Chris and T.J. about the Trail of Tears and other aspects of the Indians and heard in their questions the respect I had hoped they would have for these proud people.

We had lunch and bought souvenirs and talked with many of the participants. Several offered to have their pictures taken with little Marisa and Evan, a thrill the kids talked about the rest of the afternoon.

Toward the end of one of the dances, two eagles flew overhead to the shouts of the dancers and visitors. One gentleman explained to me that they revere eagles because it is believed that the eagles, by flying so high, carry messages from the people to their Creator. That these beautiful birds appeared overhead when they did was an unexpected and magical surprise.

Most impressive were the dancers in their multi-hued regalia, beautiful feathered headdresses and jangling bells. The younger ones twirled with an energy that only youth possesses while the older participants danced to the traditional beat of the drums. A few of the dancers were in wheelchairs and several used walkers but their determination carried them on. What was common among all of them was the dignity that showed on their faces and in their postures.

Tears moistened my eyes as I watched, enthralled with their precise steps, the respect they showed for their cultures and for the hardships they continue to endure. During the invocation I was also impressed that everyone stood and was silent, paying tribute to the legacy of our country's first peoples.

I was inspired and encouraged by the multitude of visitors and the openness of the dancers, vendors and others to talk one-on-one and to explain portions of the rituals of their meanings.

It was a heart-warming, fun and educational afternoon, a day I will long remember as I look forward to next year's event. My thanks and appreciation to the American Indian Association of Florida, Inc., www.aiaofflorida.org for making this so memorable.

If you have a chance to attend one of these celebrations, I urge you to do so. We're never to old to see part of the country's history come alive.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon emoticon I am so happy that you got to see alittle bit of our Native lives and share in the Pride that we all have no matter what happens to us. WE STILL LOVE OUR CREATOR, he is our stregth and our happiness & JOY! I hope that you will be able to share more in our Traditions, I used to dance in costume for many years, Now I am disabled. I MISS it so much! But, I danced last JUNE at the Pow-wow we have here in Portland,Oregon ANNUALLY, that my Mother & Father helped start back in 1969 & it's still going on today! I am so proud to be a NATIVE LADY, I share all our Hopes & Dreams with my Children, I have 1 daughter my oldest child. I have 4 sons, of which they all love Pow-wows and I hope that they share this with their children also. BUT, I have no Doubt's that they will!! GOD BLESS YOU MY FRIEND FOR SHARING THIS LOVELY STORY WITH US TODAY!
    3732 days ago
  • CARROT143
    Awesome, I love going to Pow-wows. I live about an hour from Cherokee and it is awesome to go over (avoid the casino) and enjoy the museums and "Unto These Hills".

    What a wonderful day.

    3750 days ago
    Thanks for this trip into compassion for others. Need to do this way more often!

    My husband has been to a powwow a few times... he talks of it from time to time. Says it's a great feeling to be a witnessing presence of.
    3750 days ago
    Wow! Lou, I recall you saying one time that you missed doing things with your nephew which I think had grew up , but look at all the new ones you have to have fun with! emoticon
    on following through with spending more time with family.

    Thanks also for informing us of these American Indian events
    Orlando, FL. I have never been to one . I will keep my eyes open for one in my state, sounds so interesting! Joy
    3764 days ago
    I love going to Pow-wows and Sweats. I appreciate the value if customs and traditions that go into every detail .

    I wrote a short story once about a tribe near NY. I live by the Crow Nation. I have also followed part of the Trail of Tears. When I was in Fla years ago, I spent time at the Indian Mound museum in Ft. Walton Beach. This year I was in Cheyenne. I appreciate seeing and hearing about the history of the People.

    Knowledge is best shared!

    Thank you for sharing!
    3766 days ago
    I have never been to one, but sure want to. My Hubby's Grandmother was Cherokee.

    3766 days ago
    Thanks for the tip Lou. I will keep my eyes peeled for a similar type of event in Cali. I tend to just stay here in La Habra Heights, but would be worth it for a show like the one you have described. Victoria
    3766 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    What a neat experience! Thanks for sharing! emoticon
    3767 days ago
    ACK! How did I stop getting your blog notices!! And here I was worrying over you and praying for you because you weren't writing blogs. Yikes! lol Glad I'm back on track with them. I have missed them!!
    3767 days ago
    Thank you, Lou, for sharing your experience with us in so much detail that it was ALMOST like being there ourselves. I'm so glad you got got to go, and especially to enjoy it with family.
    3768 days ago
    Thanks for your blog. I recently saw some of the Public Television shows on Native Americans. I recommend them to all.

    3768 days ago
    WOW, I got chills when I read about the eagles flying overhead. Very cool.
    3768 days ago
    We really enjoy the National Cowboy Symposium that takes place here in Lubbock, TX every year and it sounds pretty close to what you're describing. It is so good to know where and how things began for a society. emoticon
    3768 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5178852
    I live on Indian land in Canada. I haven't been to any celebrations (other than a wedding) but I would love to be a spectator.

    In the summer, the local band (youth)go on a canoe trip around the coast and visit with many other Indian bands.

    I am impressed that you were able to share such a wonderful experience.
    3768 days ago
    That sounds like such a wonderful day! How awesome to se such a spectacular event!
    3768 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    Sounds like a very good day for you all. It was a beautiful day in Florida. Warmed up quite nicely.

    Getting chilly now though.

    Button up those Pj's
    3768 days ago
    Wow! It sounds like it was an great day for all. I'm so glad you got to attend with your sis and your niece and nephews It sounds like everyone enjoyed it! Awesome!
    3768 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/6/2010 9:58:20 PM
    Sounds like you had a wonderful day. I love learning about other peoples cultures.

    emoticon emoticon
    3768 days ago
    Bless you for sharing your heritage with the upcoming generation. If we fail to give them a culture and legacy they will create their own.
    3768 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5002230
    That sounds like my kind of afternoon! To be able to share it through the eyes of children would be even more special. The pictures made it over-the-top thrilling!
    3768 days ago
    WOW! Sounds like an awesome event. I am so glad that you got to enjoy this as well as grateful that you shared it with us. Bright blessings to you and your family my friend. Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon
    3768 days ago
    OMG I love going to pow wow's we wre part indian amd german my daughter really looks like a squaw they have several pow wow s around here but we dont pay to see them they r free we only paid for 1
    3768 days ago
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