The Baraga Pow Wow started last night.
Hundreds of folks gathered to listen to the Native American drums, to dance in the arena, to pray, to socialize, to gather together as families, tribes or nations.
Have you ever heard the drum beat and the call of the singers? If you have, it stays with you forever. The eerie cry in Ojibway (or whatever language your Pow Wow brings) wakes up something deep inside of us. Something which has been sleeping, or missing, or gone. You can hear the drum beat and suddenly you’re carried back to some ancient memory of the land, of another time, of another language which beats deeper than any words or syllables.
Eyyy-Eee! The singers shrill and the Manido looks down from the sky and shrills back its eagle cry. You stand quivering by the Pow Wow arena, wanting to dance, longing to dance, and when the announcer says, “Inter-tribal!” you can enter the arena and your feet hit the soil like the drum beat. Up and down you pound the drum of the earth, around and around. If you dare.
I have a long history with the Native Americans, the Anishnabe, here in this area. ‘Way back in 1987 I heard the drumbeat for the first time, and it awakened slumbering embers within. Back in 1988, I danced in this arena, feeling the wind in my hair, returning to a Time before my conscious mind was born. For about seven years I attended ceremonies and lodges with these people.
Every year, now, I return to give thanks to that which has helped me to awaken deeper to who I am. It’s a time of deep appreciation, gratitude and honor.
It was hard to come this year, with a camera, and take photos. Very hard. My native friend, Denise, had to hold my hand and go ask the people permission for me to take a photo. Don’t know why it was so hard. Some people believe that when you take a photograph, your spirit can be stolen in that photo. There’s all sorts of etiquette and protocol involved. I didn’t want to be stealing any spirits, or to be disrespectful in any way.
So Denise took charge.
It really wasn’t hard. No one said “no”. My main source of irritation (don’t really want to go into this right now, but here’s the gist) is that my camera’s zoom has gone kaput. OH NO! This may involve the purchase of a new camera, and after buying a laptop computer this week…that’s financially challenging, to say the least. Thank goodness for the “crop” feature on the computer. Otherwise, you’d simply be viewing dots on the horizon, which may have barely resembled humans.
Today it was fun to spend time talking with friends, listening to the drum, watching the people in their multi-colored regalia. You can eat fry bread or wild rice soup or an Indian Pizza. (I bought Denise one after she so kindly asked folks to pose for photographs.)
There’s more photos to show you (and tomorrow’s outdoor adventure may involve the Pow Wow again) so stay tuned until tomorrow for more pictures. Hopefully everyone will have the opportunity to attend a Pow Wow at some time. Stand very silently and let the drum beat mirror the beat of your heart. Something very precious may awaken with you.
Shhh! Can you hear the drums now, out the window, down the road? They’re calling for you…