Spring brings a sense of busy to the reservations. Mothers are tightening the final beads on moccasins, sewing the last feather into the head-dress, and the last bit of fringe is being added to the shawl. This is a time of excitement, we work through the week so that we can hit the trail. Pow wows are a social time, a chance to catch up with old friends, and family that you haven’t seen in a while.
As I sit in my chair I get chills as the grand entry begins. The beating of the drum soaks into my heart, the colors take my breath away, and the tears begin to fall. This was the way, the way of our people. Little children run bare foot, parents look on with pride as the youth take up the dances of the past, and the drum calls you to the center. The singers voices drift beyond the pines, young boys look on as the drum beats, women join with a sad cry. This is how we once were.
I try to picture how it use to be. How the old days were and I try to picture my grandma dancing around the drum. The pride that she had for her life for her people. My niece runs up to me and asks “auntie did you see me? I danced just for you.” Thank you Jolie, that was a beautiful dance, I loved it. She looks at me with childhood wonder and a chocolate covered smile. This, this is the life. Not a care in the world, just me, my friends, and the beat of the drum calling us home.
The smell of fry bread drifts through the air, followed by the distinct smell of taco meat. Indian tacos are my crack, I think I eat at least 2 at every Pow Wow. Nina smiles at me, as she knows not to put lettuce on mine. I don’t even have to tell her she knows as soon as I stand in front of her cart. Jolie comes running up to me with a smile on her face and asks quietly “Can I have some?” I always share with Jolie, she snuggled up next to me watching the dancers and stuffing herself with Indian Taco. This, this is what life is about, teaching the next generation. I have to be strong for her and show this little taco eating lady, that she is worth it.
Dancers, Indian tacos, family and friends are how I choose to spend my weekend. My trunk is packed with my Pow Wow chair, my best Pow Wow shades and flip-flops. I am ready to hit the trail, to drive off into the Northland, to the winding reservation roads that lead to the Pow Wow grounds. That is where you will find me nestled in my chair under the arbor with my family at my side. This is the way, this is what life is about.