Sunday, September 21, 2008
returned to the pow wow today. Erin brought camera and tripod. the and tripod part brought someone over to say that pictures should not be taken during the 1st 4 songs. I had a camera with me yesterday, but I only took pictures during obviously less sacred times, like the candy dance, during which children dance, and when the music stops they scramble for candy scattered on the ground. which is okay, according to the people we spoke with. I get that sense of sacred and of the soul at risk. I mean, why not? there were 4 songs/dances that were not to be photographed, being sacred. the 1st was the grass dance. the 2 brothers that I have noted danced it. the point was to create a place for the festivities. the dancers stomp down the grass (which, in this case, needed no stomping), as well as snakes, again, not literally necessary. I feel like I come from a failed tribe, without going into detail, so I felt envious and sad, ocean deep, to see these brothers creating there for the further dancing. I am not sure which dance followed but one of them was a procession of veterans. the war(s) now, hello, are the job of the disenfranchised and poor, so native Americans are big in that. which is a hard thing to stare at, and hard not to. it is why (mostly) I did not enter the dance circle. I was stepping in place, that 2 tap step (toe then heel, then the other foot), and someone said, you can join the dance, you know. I acknowledge the open welcome but felt like anglo guy had to think it pretty purely to do so. which is a sad eff up on my part but hard to deny. so far as I know, my heritage is completely English. there is no pride in that, especially as a family rupture makes the whole structure fata morganna for me. I feel like I am starting over, with no useful family line to point to. so the sense of tribe amongst the participants at the pow wow was intense and saddening for me. it was heartening to see the elders dancing alongside the young ones. and how cool, gracefully cool, so many looked in their expression, the dance. only a few danced the crow dance. I do not know if crow meant the bird or the tribe. probably the former, since there was a crow-like hop to the step of the dancers. the females kicked out like majorettes, their shoulders back, and skipping in a graceful, gaily pleasing way. the males hunched forward but attained a similar exhilarating lift in their hop. the drum is a strong attraction for me. it is roughly the size of a bass drum, and I could not think of it as aught but sacred, which surely is how the the groups regard it. in one dance, an older man caught my eye. the pow wow was on the grounds of a VA hospital. adjacent to the field on which the pow wow occurred was a golf course, part of the VA. this guy looked like he came from the golf course, wearing polyester pants and that type of shirt. he walked stiffly, gingerly, and mimed hand to hand combat. I thought with a bear but perhaps with a person. swinging and jutting his arm. he came close to a child and I wondered if he would not notice, but he did. some dances are narrative so his story did not seem strange, except that he seemed overly committed. as he left the circle, he looked like he was still there. I do not know if this is so, this is only my impression. the singing was wonderful. and the drumming, I would love to be in that beat. a couple of times, the drummers did a gallimaufry wherein they all banged away randomly, as if channeling Keith Moon. and the singing was thrilling. when the women sang along, falsetto, it sounded like ouds or whatever reed instrument I mean, it sounded Arabic. I am sure I have more to say, but anon.