Aug 9, 2015

My Native American Experience



Yesterday,  I took three of my nephews to witness a Powwow in a city nearby. Powwow means to dream or have vision. Each Powwow usually has a host drum with several guest drummers, all of which are men.  Women usually take part by singing only. The drum is considered sacred and is to be treated with great respect. And no one is to approach the drum who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs nor are you to reach across it. Once the drumming begins, one feels the need to dance. 


The beat of the drum makes our bodies, mind, and spirits, join together in harmony. It allows us to connect with Mother Earth and to each other. So, therefore, dancing to beat of the drum is not only healthy but is spiritual too. So, if you find yourself wanting to dance when you hear music, just remember you are doing what comes naturally.  


Compared to the women, the men were like peacocks, displaying their elaborate regalia. As I was observing the Circle Dance, I felt that my eyes were drawn to the men as they proudly displayed their tribes traditional clothing. 


 The term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus who thought that he had landed in the East Indies. Here in the U.S. we refer to them as Native Americans or American Indians while in Canada they are referred to as First Nations.


Many Indian words are now part of our main stream conversational usage such as: wigwam, moose, moccasin, caribou, chipmunk, squaw, tobaggan, totem, and woodchuck. 


Native Americans have been living on the American continent since about 12,000 BC and were not separated by tribes or nations but a variety of cultures, peoples, and languages. 


The average African-American genome is 73.2 % African, 24% European, and 0.8% Native American. Latinos have an average of 18% Native American ancestry, 65.1 % European ancestry, and 6.2% African ancestry. Most Mexicans do not believe that they are of the same race as Native Americans even though they lived here at the same time and do not label themselves as such.  


I had a wonderful time with my family observing a culture within a culture.  The audience was encouraged to participate along with the dancers and many did. Maybe, I will be brave enough to do that next year.