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The business of fancy dancing

My cousin Johnie Vincent, his son Paul and I hosted a Gathering this weekend. Call it a Pow Wow if you will. We hope it will be an annual event. We called it the All Nations Gathering. We had a drum from Galesburg called the Black Pot Singers who were excellent and came for no pay though we gave them a donation and when they did a blanket dance, we gave them back the proceeds. We took up donations to defray our costs on food and everything. Otherwise it was free to the public. Johnie's son Luke bet him we wouldn't get 10 people. We got over 300. Guess someone owes someone else some money there. The Nations we had represented included Ho Chunk, Navajo, Eastern and Western Cherokee, Pueblo, Absentee Shawnee, Kickapoo, Crow, Iroquois, Sauk and Fox, Potowatomie, Blackfoot and we even had an Aztec descendant.

I cooked on site for anyone who didn't bring food. Paul's wife Julia who is half Mexican and half Japanese brought out her homemade hashbrown casserole and 2 kinds of tamales which were awesome. A local buffalo rancher donated 1 pounds of buffalo so I added carrots, red and gold potatoes, tomatoes, yellow onions, celery, red wine and Old Bay to make a huge pot of stew. I also had all the little ones running around help me with making biscuits from scratch, baked whole chickens, roasted garlic potatoes, a peach cobbler and a blackberry cobbler. All but the stew I did in my dutch ovens on the fire. One of our Blackfoot guests remarked I needed to show all the women how to cook. One of the vendors also made fry bread. You can't have an Indian gathering without fry bread can you?

I went out just after sunrise on Saturday and had Johnie drum for me while I blessed the grounds. He and Paul had already set up our tipi and it was joined later by a second one owned by a guy from Rushville. Peace Eagles appeared in the sky just after the drumming started and lingered the whole 2 days. We had lots of dancers and the singing was excellent. We had a flint-knapping demo and someone was making atlatls and showing how to throw them. We had log ends set up to throw hawks and Johnie and I took turns taking elders across Brushy Creek and up the ridge to where an old Potowatomie camp site is located.

It was a very fun and peaceful time and everyone asked...even begged us to hold it again next year. We readily agreed.

Here is one of the fancy dancers who hails from Rushville. His name is Fred Warbonnet.

The Dance Ring just after Johnie and I performed the blessing ceremony. You can still see the smoke rising from the burning sage in an abalone shell.

Some of the vendors' wares.

Atlatl throwing.

Woman dancing during the Shawl Dance.

The Black Pot singers.

The lodges we had set up. The one on the right belongs to our Shawnee Nation nd we just had it repaired and cleaned it.

Dancers showing a variety of regalia styles.

A traditional dancer.

My cousin Paul Vincent throwing 2 hawks at once.

Sunset as we closed the Gathering on Sunday night.




( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 14th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
Beautiful shots, and it sounds like it was an amazing event. Makes me wish I knew more about my grandmother's people, so I'd have a reason to attend.
Sep. 15th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
Know what tribe or Nation? I could help you there. Even where they lived. Our Gathering is open to all people regardless of how much they know and talking to other Native people is a good way to get started in knowing.

Sep. 15th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
Not a clue. She was an Okie and really really ashamed of it. I think my mom knows more, but she didn't seem too interested in tracing the history back any further than about 1912 in Kiowa County.

Let me know when the next one is? Enough advance notice and I might be able to scrounge a road trip posse. :)
Sep. 15th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
Let me know your Grandmother's name and I'll see what I can do. Oklahoma actually narrows it down some. As does the year because of where the reservations are and who was there at the time. The next one will be Next Fall about the same time unless we also decide to have a Spring Gathering.

(Deleted comment)
Sep. 15th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
It was a pleasant surprise that it turned out to be more than just a family reunion but we were prepared for either thing to happen.

Sep. 15th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
your cousin is scary accurate!
Sep. 15th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
And he's a prison counselor. Wonder if the prisoners know how accurate he is with throwing instruments.

Sep. 15th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
Some amazing pictures. Was a treat to get to see them. Thanks!
Sep. 15th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
Sure. It was a fun weekend. Nice to see it from this viewpoint rather than just being an observer.

Sep. 15th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
300...wow! Very cool shots. That's one of the things I like about your photos...it's almost like being there. Not watching something happening, being a part of what's happening.
Sep. 15th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
I try to convey that if I can. I want to always be able to look back and see exactly how it was. Thanks!

Sep. 15th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
Very cool and the pictures are lovely.

Family legend has it that my grandmother was half native american. She remembers being smuggled into the US from Canada as a child. She grew up with her father, but her mother was not her birth mother. The family has tried to research, but we just don't have enough information.

I find I am strongly drawn to things native american.

Thanks for sharing these pictures. I always enjoy a great drum...
Sep. 15th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
I didn't even know that much about my 1/2 Kickapoo and 1/2 Shawnee, great, great, great grandmother until 2005. I had to stumble across the clues but in the end she led me to the right ones.

Sep. 15th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
Looks like it was a lot of fun for everyone! The photos put you right there!
I missed our local powwow this year, so I gotta wait for my frybread fix. Feast of the Hunters Moon is coming up though.
Sep. 15th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
Our Fall Council meeting is next week in NC so Johnie and I will be going out for that. We plan to cook a feast there too.

Sep. 18th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
Very cool, great pictures.
Y'know this will sound silly, but I just got a kitten and wanted to give her a native name, I just haven't come across a good one. She's tiny and has a bit of a raccoon mask going on. I'll post pictures of her on my Dreamwidth journal when I get internet set up at my new apartment.
Sep. 18th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
Raccoon is Etepate in Shawnee.

Sep. 19th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
Great pictures. I've tried tracing mine as well. I don't believe I have enough information though and no one is alive anymore to ask. I asked mom before she went, but she didn't provide me with enough. I am drawn to these things though. Have been for a long long time.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )