Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Muckleshoot Powwow: Last evening we went to the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation for the Sobriety Pow. We had gone almost a month without attending a powwow, which is pretty rare for us. It’s been so hot in the Puget Sound area that we spent a couple of weekends at our cabin near Mount Rainier, where it was about ten degrees cooler. In the spring of the year there are a lot of powwows sponsored by the Indian Education divisions of school districts. As soon as school is out the attention turns to outdoor powwows, usually sponsored by the tribes or other Indian associations. We missed the Seafair Powwow, which is sponsored by The United Indian Tribes of All Nations and held at the beautiful Daybreak Star Indian Center in Seattle. The grounds overlook Puget Sound. That powwow has become increasingly commercial, however, and I have several friends who say they won’t dance there again. We’ve boycotted that powwow for several years, if you want to call it that. Two years ago we drove about 125 miles north to spend the weekend with the Nooksak Tribe. We had a wonderful time.

A couple of weeks ago we were lamenting the fact that we didn’t go to Arlee, Montana. The powwow there is supposed to be a very good one. But last night friends who did go told me that while it was big, it wasn’t any bigger than this weekend’s at Muckleshoot. I’d estimate that there were probably about 150-200 dancers in regalia last evening. And the crowds watching probably were about 700 strong. During the entire weekend there probably were crowds nearing 2000. Some come and go, others come and stay for the entire weekend.
I did manage to dance one inter-tribal dance, where anyone can dance, regalia or not. Time was, before the back troubles, that I would be on the dance ground whenever an inter-tribal was called. I was talking to a friend and saying how sorry I was that I couldn’t dance as much. From his wheelchair he responded, "Just remember, my friend, every time you dance, you dance for me as well." That puts a proper spin on it.

It was a beautiful evening with a full moon shining over the ground. I watched a young friend dance in regalia for the first time. He’s been four years putting it together. I saw a young lady from Rocky Boy Reservation in Montana who has a hip operation since we last saw her and walks ever so much better. I saw a woman who is beating cancer and who prayed for me when I lost my finger. We’ve been praying for her in return. And we chided J.C., a young traditional dancer whose parents have said he has one month to learn to drive and get his license because they are not driving him to powwows after that. He grinned and allowed as how he’d better get at it. Another friend told us that he has only one more interferon treatment to go for his cancer. Just one big Indian family. A happy political moment when Ryan Wilson, vice-president of the National Indian Education Association, made an impassioned plea for Indians to register to vote and then get out and vote. The present administration has done nothing good for Indians and has done away with recognition of more than one tribe. One of those tribes was the Duwamish who lived on the ground on which Seattle was founded. Aho.


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