Gizzy in Heaven!

Gizzy in Heaven!
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Monday, April 5, 2010

My Powwow Experience

I had such an enjoyable time being a guest at the Cherokee Annual Spring Powwow in Saint George, Georgia. I made a couple of new friends. We exchanged e-mail addresses for sharing photos and I may see them in October, because I'm happy to say that I was invited back for their 30th Anniversary Powwow on October 7th, 8th and 9th, 2010. The property belongs to the Cherokees of Georgia, but other tribal members participated in this event as well.

Everyone was so friendly and generous. It was like one big family reunion. When we arrived, our friend had already set up our tents (we each had our own) and I felt so safe that I would not hesitate camping there by myself. They patroled the area throughout the night walking through the camps and making sure everyone was safe and sound snoozing in their tents. There was no shouting, fighting, breaking of glass bottles or any rowdiness causing people to feel alarmed, only good times and smiling faces. The campground had both motorhomes and tents and the campfires burned pretty much all night. When I was in my tent preparing to fall asleep, I could hear crackling fires and people talking amongst themselves. It was a very comforting and secure feeling. The camp smelled of sage and insense and they provided three squares at the snack shop during the powwow, so we didn't even need to bring any food. There were several raffles and one midnight auction on Saturday night to help raise funds for these events. I won two smaller prizes and chose this picture, plus another similar looking one that I gave to my neighbor yesterday for looking after my pets.
I purchased a lovely necklace that was made by a lady who is a member of the Seminole tribe. (pictured below left with my friend who invited us.)  The necklace is made from all natural materials, such as bone, silver and turquoise. See the small pink birds on there? I like that it's long enough to slip over my head and no clasp to deal with.
The festivities started out with the ceremonial recognition of the Indian war veterans and soldiers (past and present) followed by prayer and blessing of the sacred circle and the drum.

There was singing, dancing, story telling and very harmonious flute playing. These flutes were made of different hard wood and sweet grass root. I learned how the Indians cultivated corn from native plants. I also learned that besides horses and the measles (and other diseases) the first three things the Europeans braught to America that changed the land and thereby the Indians' lifestyle was:

1.) The honey bee. The honey bee is an indiscriminate pollinator, causing shrubs and underbrush to grow in the forests that were otherwise open and free of tangles and grasses for hunting and running after prey (remember, the Indians did not have horses till the Spaniards brought them over.)

2.) Tobacco and with it the earthworm. The earthworm aerates the soil causing it to change and alter its previous consistancy.

3.) The wild boar - that ate the indigenous roots that the Indians could survive on for weeks - even months, if the hunting was bad.

I learned that the poeple called "grass dancers" were Indians that danced on top of the grass till it lay flat on the ground, because - obviously - they had no lawnmowers and cutting it by hand would have taken too long.

Lastly, I learned that I CAN sleep on my side and on my stomach... in a tent!

I was fascinated with the flamboyant costumes with feathers and bells and the women's beautiful dresses and shawls with the long fringe.


It was interesting to see the various styles of dancing. There was spinning and hopping, swaying and skipping all to the beat of the drum. I especially enjoyed watching the little ones dance to the rhytm of the beating drum, like the young boy on the right.


Here's a another close up of him taking his dancing very seriously and I think he did a wonderful job. I was very impressed.

You could see faces reflecting various Nationalities, like Europe, Africa and America - these were folks from all walks of life. I even saw red heads, but they all must have had some Indian lineage in their ancestry.



This was an especially impressive costume. I was almost afraid of him.


There were vendor booths with all sorts of arts and crafts for sale, including face painting and flute playing lessons.


I also purchased a bag of herbal tea that is geared towards my health issues and I'm going to give that a try. Again, it was a wonderful experience and I'm so glad to have been invited back in October.

I have to confess that I wimped out and spent part of the night on Friday and all of Saturday night in the car. I got cold and could not get comfortable in the tent, but I will be better prepared next time with a sleeping bag and an air mattress. (Wouldn't you know I sold mine just a few months ago thinking I'll never go camping again?)

Here's a photo of the nice vest I got for a mere $3. It was previously owned, but I love the design and enjoy wearing it.


















Until next time.

Wadu (everyone said that after a prayer or at the end of a statement. I was told it means: "so be it"!)

14 comments:

♥ Kathy said...

That looks like it was so much fun! I'm glad you had a good time :) Welcome home ♥

Beansieleigh said...

Hi Doris! We've had something similar here, but I don't know if it was a bigger or smaller event compared to this one. The camping part sounds like a major percentage of the FUN though!! It's nice that you made new acquaintances and friendships! Your picture all came out beautiful too! ~tina

Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

Gosh that sure looks like fun! So glad you got to go!!!

I'm glad to see people preserving their heritage!

The Beneficial Bee said...

Wow, Doris! That looks amazing. I'm glad you had a wonderful time. I love going to sleep in a tent with the sounds of people chatting around a campfire.

Debbie Pearson said...

Wow, looks like you had quite an interesting and fun time! It's always great to make new friends too.

Silke said...

Dear Doris, thank you so much for sharing this!! And to think it happened right here in GA. It looked like it was beautiful and fun!! Glad you had a great time! Love, Silke

Anonymous said...

what experience you had. I am jealous but thank you for sharing your photos with us. Love it.

Anonymous said...

what experience you had. I am jealous but thank you for sharing your photos with us. Love it.

Samantha G said...

What an amazing event to be able to attend! You're so lucky to have had this privilege! :) Thank you for sharing the story & your wonderful photos!

gwengoods said...

Really amazing Doris, your pictures are wonderful.

Sarah said...

Great pix, Doris! What an interesting life you lead!

That's very interesting about the honey bees being brought to America and being such "thoughtless" ( ;-) )and indiscriminate pollinators. I suppose the Indians have no concern about the honey bees dying out, then?

Glenna Normyle said...

Wow how fascinating and fun. Beautiful pictures. Wonderful finds you purchased and won!!!

*Ulrike* said...

That looked like so much fun!! I think it is so interesting, and being as I had a great, great Indian grandmother I always like to learn.

jindiscottage said...

Hi Doris
I really enjoyed reading about your PowWow experience and seeing all the great photos.
Hugs