This past weekend, our community was treated to a dose of Native American culture, with a parade and powwow. All of it was spectacular and a privilege to attend.
On Monday, Indigenous Peoples' Day, I attended "Remembering the Children," a memorial walk to honor the children who died while attending boarding school and were recently found in unmarked graves. A memorial is planed in Rapid City where the children were found. Although there were many somber moments, it was also joyful.
At the memorial walk gathering, many of the speakers thanked the community for coming out, and they asked that we take the information that we had gathered and share it with others to help inform and aid in building relationships. Below is a series of photos, along with a video I stitched together over the days. Please feel free to share with your community.
Native Veterans stood proudly for a photo. After the photo op, we shared a laugh and an embrace.
A little Native girl dances in her jingle dress, by her grandfather.
Women's Traditional Dress & Ribbon Dress. In addition to the ornate beauty of the dresses, women carried everything they needed with them, including a medicine pouch and a skinning/boning knife. In the Native tradition, after a buffalo hunt, it was the women who moved in to do the skinning and the butchering. The ribbons are considered an expression of history, resilience, character, and healing.
Grass Dancers require a tremendous amount of athleticism. A Grass Dancer wears bright colors and sways and moves as would a strand of grass in the wind. The dancer, wearing long ribbons and fringes, flattens the grass like a young warrior preparing the ground for a ceremony.
Native American girls' dresses featured above: Traditional Dress & Jingle Dress. The Jingle Dress, also known as the Prayer Dress, is worn to bring healing to those who are sick.
This 2.5-minute video showcases scenes from the powwow and includes the Shawl Dance, Jingle Dress Dance, Grass Dance, Fancy Dance, and Chicken Dance, along with two drumming groups. The drum is a sacred instrument of Native cultures. The drumbeat symbolizes the heartbeat of Mother Earth and the heartbeat of Indigenous Nations. It is used in ceremonies, social dances, feasts, and in preparation for hunting historically. It was and still is used to help heal the sick and as a way of carrying songs and prayers to the spirit world. Also featured are scenes from the Children's Memorial gathering.