Baraga Pow-Wow, 2010. Thirty second annual Keweenaw Bay Maawanji’iding at the Ojibwa Campground.
Theme: Honoring our Legacy.
Kiah and I drove over Saturday afternoon. She wanted especially to connect with a couple of friends who would be at the Pow Wow.
Last year I wrote deeply spiritual blogs called If you listen to the Pow Wow drums… you will never be the same and Farewell, Pow Wow. Until next year…
It must have been sunnier weather last year, because the photos this year proved more challenging. The sacred dancing circle beneath the pines filtered sunlight on the dancers. (Just checked. Nope, that sunnier weather excuse can’t be used. It rained last year. Hmmm….)
Lots of people enjoyed the Pow Wow photos and posts from last year. They wrote to say how they inspired them, how they moved their hearts and spirits.
But one native fella wrote to tell me that I was a crazy white person with no knowledge of Pow Wows at all. He said all my romantic-spiritual talk was just the garble of a white “wanna-be”. As in–“wanna be Native”. He objected to the romanticizing of the native way of life, the “appropriation of the culture by non-natives”. He said he has lived in a white culture his whole life and would not romanticize it. He said that the Pow Wow is not necessarily a spiritual event and asked, “Are you serious?”
I calmly and compassionately–hopefully compassionately–responded to him:
You may be right. I appreciate your insights. I do tend to romanticize everything, white culture, all cultures, everything. That may be my nature. Most of my friends kind of expect it by now. My native friends who read the blog said they liked it very much, and passed it along to many of their friends. But I suppose others felt the same way you do. I actually have gone back to the Pow Wow every year for 22 years to give thanks to the people and everything they taught me on this spiritual journey. I understand that it’s not necessarily spiritual, but it was for me. So, I must say I was serious, truly so, but can see your point of view. Thank you for sharing, Kathy
It is good when we can share our different perspectives and reach some sort of understanding. No matter if we are of different races, tribes, cultures, sexual orientations, political beliefs.
If we sit down and talk face-to-face, being as honest and vulnerable as possible, we can often find common understanding. Perhaps an agreement to see the world differently…but an understanding beyond initial reactionary disagreement.
Not always, but often, this happens.
In certain sacred dances at the Pow Wow, we are asked to put away our cameras. I usually look carefully around the circle to determine if it’s appropriate to take photos. It is challenging sometimes to know. Some deeply spiritual people do not want to be photographed.
Sometimes, in life, it is hard to gauge what to do. One must always consult one’s heart. And, even then, others might disagree with the heart’s opinion…
Kiah and I enjoyed watching the dancers.
We listened to the sacred prayers and blessings, then opted to leave. It was a short visit to the Pow Wow this year.
Perhaps next year it will be longer…
And here is the promised “Pickle Girl”! I asked permission from her mama for this photo. Isn’t she cute? Isn’t the pickle almost as big as she is?
I love the way children so often share of themselves so beautifully, effortlessly. Here is a pickle. Want one?
I don’t care, the little girl seems to say, what color you are. I don’t care if you make mistakes. I don’t care about anything except…want to share a pickle? Here! Isn’t it good?