returned to the public seating area which was right next (south side) to the
arena entrance (east). The elder seating was on the other side (north
side) of the entrance. While we sat waiting, I watched the preparations,
zooming in for a picture here and there from my chair, trying to photographically
get a sample feel of those moments leading up to the call for Grand Entry.
I also took a few whimsical shots, such as the one in the second row below
on the left. It looked to me like one of the "Little People" of Cherokee
legend might be standing on top of the tents. Of course, the woman in
the picture is actually on a trail coming over the hill into the ceremonial
grounds which I heard some members of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa
Indians refer to as "the bowl."
On our walk, I
noticed the drums were out in the sun being readied. The article (by
Christina Rohn) which Aunt Gloria had given us was primarily about one of
the drum groups who would be at the pow wow. "Their job at a pow wow
is to provide rhythm, peace and harmony," according to the article which included
group members names and the following additional information (excerpt);
"Patrick James Naganashe, 30, a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of
Odawa Indians and Spirit Lake, a local drum group that will perform this weekend,
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 14-15, at the 19th annual Odawa Homecoming Pow Wow
in Harbor Springs, says there is a lot more to playing a drum and singing
than people might think. '(Drumming) is really a calling on a
spiritual level,' he said. 'We have the responsibility of bringing people
together.' Naganashe explained that drums were introduced to Native
American people as a tool for creating peace. 'Legend says, a long,
long time ago, there was a lot of fighting and sickness between the different
tribes in Canada, the (United States) and Mexico,' he said. 'One day,
a young woman went out and prayed to God for peace . . . God told her that
he would send her a tool that men could use to bring the tribes back together.
When she awoke from her vision, she saw a traditional/hand drum.' Naganashe,
who has been drumming and singing since the age of 4 or 5, says for him, drumming
is a spiritual experience. 'The drum has a spirit inside of it, and
we are appealing to that drum to reach out and touch the community,' he said.
'There are times you can really feel it; I have to believe it is the spirits
— our past loved ones and those ancestors coming to help guide us.'
He says, at times, when the entire group is playing in sync, 'You can hear
a woman’s voice in the background over ours — it is really intense.'
Naganashe says that the rhythm created by the drum is symbolic of a mother’s
heartbeat. 'Everybody feels more at peace and more secure when we are
near our mother’s heartbeat,' he said. 'And that is what the drum represents,
that continuous rhythm.' Mike Naganashe, Patrick’s 29-year-old brother,
who is also part of the Spirit Lake drum group, said drumming makes him feel,
'good, humble and proud.' Jeremy Joy, 22, of Cheboygan, who is a tribal
member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, and who also plays with
Spirit Lake, said for him, drumming is a way of relieving stress. 'It
is a way of venting. I feel a lot calmer and more at peace when I drum,' Joy
said. Patrick said Spirit Lake has between seven and eight members on
average, who sit in a circle around a 'big' drum during pow wows and provide
the rhythm and songs for dancers. He says during competition pow wows,
like this weekend’s, which is specifically a dance competition pow wow, their
job as drummers/singers is extremely important. 'You want to make sure
(the dancers) have an appropriate song and a clean beat and rhythm to follow,'
Patrick said. 'If the rhythm is off, it makes it difficult for them
to compete at the highest level they can.' Patrick said it has been
several years since he and his brother have attended the Odawa Homecoming
Pow Wow, and they are extremely excited to perform and visit with family and
friends. 'There is a sense of pride that this is our pow wow and you
really want to represent the tribe well,' he said. 'It is kind of a homecoming
for us. We are excited to see everyone.'"