Yesterday, Liz and I attended the 33rd Annual Roy Track Pow Wow in Mesa. The Pow Wow is an inter-tribal get-together. The main attraction is the gourd dancing and drum circle.
I have no photographs, as this event is a tribal affair. The dances are sacred ritual. Some tribes allow photographs and video, others do not. To be respectful, I only took pics of friends and the arts and crafts tents.
The dances and chants are certainly a spectacle. Many of the dancers were decked in eagle feather headdresses and brightly colored outfits. The event is not so much a tourist event as it is a reunion of the various local tribes.
The gourd dance is a dance for chiefs, warriors and priests. The dance honors the warriors and honors the enemies they defeated. What an interesting concept to a westerner, honoring your fallen enemy.
Much of this history taught to Americans about the Indian wars (genocide) is written from the point of view of people that cannot fathom the worldview of the Native American. More than a century passed before concession were made, including concessions that allowed native tribes to practice these dances.
We white eyes were among the minority, as indigenous tribes were there to celebrate their heritage. Many generations were represented. The flag ceremony included the US flag, the state flag of Arizona, the POW-MIA flag and the flag of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. A representative from the Navajo Code Talkers was present.
There were food vendors serving up fry bread and cultural cuisine.The arts and crafts tents featured fine jewelry, pottery, carving and more.
One subject that came up in our conversations was the pipeline in South Dakota – and there was solidarity for this cause. There is a lot of rhetoric on both sides of this issue, but the fact remains that sacred land is being sold to the highest bidder – a foreign entity that is destroying the land for profit. The Native American protestors have been mostly peaceful (there are always a few bad eggs to ruin things) and have been met with police action, men armed with automatic weapons and tear gas and bean bag shotguns.
If not for social media, this protest would not have been broadcast to the general public. It was a full 60 days at least before any of the mainstream media outlets picked up on this story. I did regular searched on Google for weeks after seeing the posts on Facebook before finally the Washington Post and CNN finally aired stories. Google placed the interests of the energy company above any of the posts that voiced the interests of the tribes that are affected the most by this project.
I am in favor of energy independence. Allowing a foreign country to control a pipeline within our borders is not energy independence.
But enough politicking.
Liz was happy to meet up with Marvin Redeye and his wife Anna. Liz knows them from the Superstition Mountain Museum Heritage Days events. Marvin is USMC, and proud of it. Semper Fi! He served in Vietnam. He crafts fine silver jewelry, much of it with armed services insignia as part of the design.
It was a pleasant afternoon. I am looking forward to Heritage Days. This year I will be able to attend the events all day.