Sunday, January 22, 2012

Many Peoples Dancing as One: My First Red Paint Powwow

Click on the poster to go to the Red Paint Powwow website

Yesterday we went with our friends, Pat and Mary, to the Red Paint Powwow in Silver City, New Mexico. It was an amazing experience and I wish that each of you could go today to see it. Those watching the dancing were asked not to take photos, so we have these pictures and sensations stored up in our memories:

The electrifying sound of the drums and singing that went straight inside of our chests

The exquisite clothing of the dancers

The live golden eagle watching the Grand Entry from his perch on the stage

The golden eagle head and feathers on the staff carried by the leader of the Grand Entry procession

The young girl with partly shaved head, Goth makeup, and black fingernail polish who, nonetheless, proudly and respectfully took part in the women's shawl dance

The young woman dressed in white and orange and blue with many beads, so beautiful you could hardly take your eyes off her, who danced side by side with her grandmother

The amazing, humbling patriotism of a mistreated people

The way veterans and active military people were honored, honored, honored, and constantly shown that their service would never be forgotten

The young Army couple who were so honored. They first danced in army fatigues and boots, with a fringed shawl for her, and a feathered staff for him. They disappeared for a while and then came back in full tribal regalia, so beautiful. It took us a while to recognize them, and we thought about the swings from one culture to another that they must experience every day.

A small child in the arms of her drumming mother; another carried by his grandfather during a blanket dance.

These are just some of the pictures swirling through my mind this morning, in and out of the echoes of the chanting drummers. I'll tell you some of the things I learned about powwows in the next post.


the7msn said...

All these years in New Mexico and I've yet to attend a powwow. You've inspired me to seek out the next one...that's a little closer than Silver City.

Randy said...

That would have been fun to see. I love the one on the Jemez and Taos Pueblos.

Sallie ( said...

Oh I'd love to have been there Clair! Look forward to reading more about it.

I like your new header and "look".

Joyful said...

Sounds like fun!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Nothing like a powwow. I'm glad you respected their wishes and didn't photograph the proceedings although I bet you really wanted to (I would). Lots of people sneak photographs and seem to be proud of it.

There was a time when son was really interested in powwows so we went to a lot of the local ones. I loved them. The fry bread is good also.

charlotte g said...

You are re-introducing me to the state I love so well, with so much rich history and culture. I am so glad to know that so much of the many cultures that have fluorished for centuries and beyond there are being cared for and surviving now.

It is hard to be among those ancient mountains and blue, blue skies without experiencing an internal change.

clairz said...

Charlotte, we've been talking lately about how changed we are since moving here. The place really does something to a person.