Monday, September 12, 2011

49th Annual National Championship Indian Pow Wow

In our family, everything is a ritual. 
If we love something, we try to go back every year.
We love the Indian Pow Wow at Traders Village in Grand Prairie. 
And we go back every year. 

We have been going since my kids were 1, 3 and not even thought of yet!
I first heard of it when I was at Traders Village looking for a giant pinata for my daughter's upcoming 2nd birthday. 
The Pow Wow was interesting.  We walked around, and watched the dancers.  Then I tried the Indian Taco.  Right then I knew my life would be changed forever. 
They take their amazing Indian Fry Bread, which is, by the way, bread that has been fried.  My daughter just eats it covered in honey, and that's okay. 
But.... then they take ground meat, beans and Indian spices and put on top of the bread, then layered with lettuce and tomatoes.... oh...oh...oh.... it's wonderful!

So, we went back the next year, and the next. 

My neighbor, Lori, and her daughter Sara, would go with us each year. We would watch the ceremonial Indian dances, and always participate when they invited the spectators out to dance.  It's so much fun.  The kids would play in the tee pees and we would always eat the Indian Tacos and Fry Bread. 

But last October Lori passed away in her sleep, and Sara moved away to live with her dad.  The Pow Wow had been the last thing we had done together.  We were still eager to go this year, but things had changed.  My kids, now 11, 9 and 3, still had a great time!  My 3 year old watched one of the ceremonial dancers, authentically dressed in leather and feathers, and he then asked me if he was a bird.
I told him yes.  

Like every year, we walked through the Indian Marketplace, stopping and talking to the vendors.  I like to ask where they are from.  Many are from Texas, but some come from as far away as Arizona, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  They like to share their stories, how they make their arts.  We met one old man who traps skunks for their pelts and skulls.  He then cleans the skulls and paints the different Indian Nation colors on the skulls, and attaches them to staffs.  He sells lots of turtle shell music shakers and turtle shell purses and bags.  His teenage daughter tells me that her parents love dead animals, but she loves live ones, and is saving her money to buy a turtle at the petstore that she has a "connection" with.  She said that "if you look an animal in the eye, you know if you have a connection with that animal or not.  Some people never have connections with animals, because they never look them in the eye."  Wow!  I made a mental note to look each of our pets in the eye when I got home!

The kids wanted to play in the tee pees, which are authentically made but set out for the children to run around and play.  I chased after my little Leo, as he chased after his brother and sister, and their friends who met us there.  When the announcer invited everyone from the stands to join the dancers on the grounds, we gathered up and went out.  We laughed and danced together, and ran into friends who were dancing in the competition.  When it was over and we were walking out of the dance grounds, Cole, my 11 year old, asked if they could go play a little bit longer in the tee pees.  Sure, I told him.  I watched as they chased one another in and out, pretending to shoot a rubber band arrow gun I had purchased.  When it was time to leave, I heard Cole say to Leo that they could play again next year.  I thought to myself, I hope so.  I hope that in the next year things don't change.  I hope we are all still together, with the ability to spend the evening dancing and laughing.  Last year, we never would have imagined that Lori wouldn't have been with us. I hope that Cole doesn't change, and feel himself too old to run and play with his siblings.  He doesn't even realize that the change is coming.  But I do.  Maybe that is why I like our rituals, it helps me to gauge how much we have changed over the past year, and keep track of the time as it dances away. 

For more information on the National Championship Indian Pow Wow;