|BLANKET DANCE BEFORE THE FLAGS|
|SOME ARE MORE ENTHUSIASTIC|
Red Cliff has a traditional Powr Wow on the Fourth of July weekend annually, and this year’s event seems larger than usual. There are a lot of tourists in Bayfield, and quite a few seemed to be in the otherwise mostly Indian crowd. The new casino is not yet complete, and the festivities were held in the same location as always, but it is not clear to me whether the grounds will remain where they are. All the structures…booths, bleachers, drum shelter, official’s stand… are rather ramshackle, and all could be moved to any fairly large, flat area, but here on the shores of the lake, overlooking Basswood Island, seems quite perfect, so I for one hope it remains where it is.
Pow Wow’s are not, generally speaking, exciting things to the outsider. Exotic costumes perhaps, but the drumming and chanting a little monotonous to the white man’s ear, and most of the activity unabashedly Indian oriented, with a lot of subtle Indian humor, which is of course as it should be. But I like to be absorbed in it, immersed in it, there is something elementally social and human about all of it, but one cannot, I think, make the mistake of acting like an Indian wannabe. All are more than welcome, but it is, and should always remain, an Indian affair.
Anyway, it all goes well with the Fourth of July; the US flag most honored among the tribal banners, all the flag staffs arranged properly with the sacred eagle staff for the events, and all the paraphernalia ceremoniously carried in and out with the greatest solemnity. Respect and honor …for the tribes, the women and children, the elders, the veterans, is always evident, and genuine.
I know my brief descriptions are incomplete and might be considered ethnologically or politically incorrect. Be that as it may, I drop by every year and appreciate the fact that I am welcome, and recognize people and am recognized in return.
A Pow Wow says a lot about the cultural diversity of America, which is our strength; and our love of liberty, which is our common bond.