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"!)