Monday, April 14, 2014

I like Powwow too...but this is Sundance.

One of the best scoldings I was ever witness to, was Elder Joe Esquash giving advice to some young Indian Men.  We were at a SunDance preparation meeting. The boys were all around the Drum. They went into a song and started to jam. They were going full tilt, just giving it all. Some whoops and holler.  After the song and the last beat on the Drum, they smiled gave each other encouragements, congratulations, grins and pride-full looks. Many of us were all in a circle in this small building. The Old Man Joe, just said "I like Powwow too, but this is SunDance".  All the heads of the guys around the Drum just bowed.
They all knew they were scolded. No yelling, no anger, just a calm voice telling them this was for Prayer time.   

We laughed afterward.

I like that about the Elders and the wise, just how damn cool they are.

You know that some Indians don't believe there is any Ceremonial element to Powwows?  Sad, I know. There is  of course pageantry, exhibition, dance, gala, colour and of course pride. But don't think for one minute there is no Spirit there. There is wonderful Spirit and strong Ceremonial presence in the Dance, the Song, the history.  They only need to ask about the Dance, the Song, and the revival. You see it was a neat trick to practice Ceremony in front of everyone when it was against the law. Even it was disguised in the festival and exhibition aspect of the Powwow. 

I was listening to Ceremony songs on the youtube and was thinking about Ceremony. Spring is here and just two months from now, there will be many SunDance Ceremonies happening.

It is a blessing to be able to go to Ceremony. Just think there was a time (not too long ago) that you couldn't even leave your community or practice your beliefs. Wow eh?

It is a testament to our People and their ability to survive. We do have an obligation to our ancestors and to our heritage to not forget who we are and where we come from.

Not only that, but we owe it to our children and their children to Teach them. Teach them about our heritage. That means learning our language and our ways.

It is never too late.  Seek out Elders, Ceremony, Language Teachers, and Story Tellers. They will not turn you away.  So enjoy the Powwow, but also don't forget the Ceremony.

Like the old man says, I like powwow too, but this is Sundance...

Bazgim, made and sung by James Mawla Shawana
Odawa + Potawatomi ... Anishinaabe
giishpin - if
aanchiidman - you change your mind
wiindamoshin - tell me
bazgim - sweetherat
gegwaa - do not
maajaake - leave
gaa mesinen - i will miss you
bazgim - sweetheart
giishpin - if
e'maajaayin - you leave
gaa boodeyis - i will be lonely
bazgim - sweetheart


  1. Thanks. My son (15) an I saw an old native video about their/your history. So, I was seeking for Natives now/today and i Found this blog. We were shocked by the video, but very happy there are still Native Americans and their own culture. I know so little about it. I'm european, you see. God bless you.

  2. Alive and kicking the Native people are... Lot of life going on and thank you for coming by.

  3. My Grandmother would let people brag, crow and exult; she’d just listen. Then she’d smile, point at a bird or a dog and tell a short story, ending: I guess every animal knows more than we do…+ Miss ya my friend.

  4. Yeah, it sounds like your Granny was one of those cool old ladies. I like that.