Thursday, November 22, 2007
Buffalohair NativeVue HUMBLE GATHERINGS
It’s nice to have a place that I call home though. Granted some of my relations don’t have running water but at least they are not outside in the cold. So they have to heft a few 5 gallon buckets of water a day to take care of their needs. Same old abandoned cars, same old tarp on the roofs and of course since it is fall, miles of Duct Tape and plastic around many windows. Sure the place is racked with poverty, social ills and endless hard time but it is also where my people and I call home.
Our tin building has seen many gatherings; Stewart and the crew have sung many ancient songs within the confines of them thin walls while playing our drum. The the rythmic beat resonated throughout the streets of our little village. Giveaways and a bazillion honor dances have come to pass to the joy of my people. Bingo anyone? For me it’s always been a sacred time since we all come together and dance as one people. Cheyenne’s come in all shapes, colors and locations just to sing and dance with relations in our time of celebration, laughter and joy. And of course what gathering would be complete without food and frybread to die for? It’s a good thing too since we would need all the energy for our dances and we Cheyenne’s love to gourd dance, Huuuu Hoooo!
On this occasion my Aunt Ella Akeems great grand daughter of White Buffalo Woman did the invocation before our gathering began. Of course she said the prayer in Cheyenne and in English. It was a very moving prayer since she prayed for all of humanity in a way only elders can say. With humility she prayed for mankind as we face these troubling times. It was quite striking to me knowing our history with the non Native invaders who indiscriminately killed our people back in the day.
She told us of our relationship with all human beings on this Earth. She mentioned how we are all related and the importance of how we should become one as a people and to be humble in the face of these turbulent times. This little old lady said more in her prayer than most people do in a lifetime. Then I looked around the hall and noticed something I never paid attention to before. Everyone in this room was Cheyenne yet there was a wealth of diversity within our ranks. Some were big, some were small, some were beige, some were dark but we were all together in one tribe of human beings. Oh and there were a couple TV looking Natives, you know, the oneswith the “Look”. But they all shared one thing, a giant smile as we enjoyed each others company in our sanctuary.
I invited a person from Burma to our gathering. She wanted to meet other tribal people since she lived tribally when she lived in Burma. Apparently she tried to enjoy some Pow Wow in Texas where she was promptly scolded for not knowing traditions or protocol. Granted there is a universal protocol but the infractions she committed truly did not warrant her being scolded. Imagine, she was scolded for the color of her clothing and other lame things of that nature. It is this attitude that prevails at some gatherings that turn the Native youth off to our traditions as well I might add. When she told me of her ordeal I promptly invited her to our gathering. I also told her that her regalia from Burma would be welcome with us.
True to form, this person from Burma was welcomed with open arms. It was very nice to see this woman smile and enjoy my people. Others loaned her a shawl so she could dance with us. Fact is she was offered the use of a shawl many times since my people just enjoyed the diversity. An uncle who fought in Burma during WWII had to pay respects to her culture since he honored people of Burma who fought along side him. Eventually she was given a shawl of her own and this moved her deeply since I know she missed her people. Later she told me how their gatherings in the jungle of Burma were so similar since they had a “giveaway” of sorts and they danced together in harmony and oneness. That’s what I’m talking about eh.
Yup, this gathering was another good one for me eh. I know it was a special time for this Burmese woman since she finally found some nice people to visit. There were no harsh words about her lack of knowledge in customs or traditions. And if there was, my elders simply explained to her how we did things in a nice way. This is something people should consider when trying to get our youth back into the circle. Just pisses me of when I talk with kids who are just not into tribal things. They just do not want people to yell at them and frankly, neither would I. But gads, this woman was from Burma and surely these boneheads in Texas should have given her some consideration at the very least.
I travel within our Native World and I surely don’t know everything. But I am always willing to learn the protocols of the nations I visit. To watch as this gal visited with my people did my heart good since it wasas if my aunties prayer embraced the evening for this little Burmese gal. It also made me realize what I take for granted when I come home, the love my people have for others. I know they love me even in my Krusty state fore I truly love my people as well. Wow, am I having a warm and fuzzy moment? Ah, whatever, must be gas.
Creativity is the byproduct of a fertile mind