2010 Odawa Homecoming Pow Wow Page 3

This might possibly be the most pictures (112) I have ever put onto a single Scrapbook Photos page.  They are relatively small files though, so they should still open quickly.  As I saw how it was growing, I moved several images to the previous page.  I also considered going to a fourth page, but decided then I would want to do a four directions theme which would require moving pictures all around, and this had already become a relatively long project.  Almost all of the pictures were originally horizontal.  Since I was primarily shooting from a single location, most of the backgrounds are similar.  Hence, I did a great deal of cropping.  Only a few of the vertical shots started out that way.  The vast majority were taken from one of the horizontal photos.  My camera has a large, two medium settings, and a small format.  I usually shoot using the larger medium setting to allow for pulling out a piece of a picture in such circumstances.  All three pages contain comparatively high photo counts.  Often when I could not decide between two images, my solution was to give up and use both.  By this stage of the game I was doing that quite a bit to speed things up somewhat.  Of the 568 pictures I took, just over three hundred of them ended up being shared with you.  I hope it has not been too overwhelming.  I tried to cut back.  I really did. 




Sometimes, because of my web pages or conversation, people assume I am a regular attendee or participant at pow wows, but this is not the case.  As I have mentioned elsewhere in my website, although I heavily incorporate indigenous philosophies and perspectives into my life, and try to show respect for my ancestry, I am not a practitioner of traditional Native American ceremony.  The very first Grand Entry I experienced did touch my spirit in a very special way.  However, I actually rarely attend pow wows.  There are several reasons for this.  Like everywhere else in our culture, there is the politics of a thing one becomes exposed to sooner or later.  Also . . . 

The couple of negative experiences without clear photographic protocols early in my visits to pow wows made a big impact.  You only need to be unfairly reprimanded once to have it create a tension when it is your desire to be respectful of the cultural situation.  Contrary to the claims, in my personal experience, announcers have not always been on top of stating when photographs are prohibited.  I never had an individual object to a picture.  Sometimes I have specifically asked, but if you were to ask every time, you would never get a candid shot.  People change their demeanor and expressions when they know they are being photographed.  Very few people have the ability to "knowingly" act naturally.  Anyone acquainted with me understands that (besides simply serving God) what I "do" is photography.  The tension of always wondering if I am within the boundaries is not particularly enjoyable. 

One of the things I embrace about traditional indigenous ways, and believe Christians could learn and benefit from, is the integration of the spiritual within daily activities.  There is not one day where you are religious and six where you are secular.  Your daily walk and spiritual walk are not separate entities.  They are one walk . . . one life.  Though I respect that each person has the (God given) freedom to choose their own path in life, and what their heart calls them to is between them and their Creator, the not so subtle way that I was shown Cherokee Bill's Teaching & Trade Center was not truly welcome to share (display) Cherokee history at the Lansing Pow Wow because of my obvious Christian walk, also became a strong deterrent for any positive connection to pow wows. 


The third thing which I will mention here, is actually a struggle I have in white culture as well, but Indian gatherings seem to reflect it much more strongly.  That is the elevated status of warriors (veterans and current military).  Before anybody reading this gets their dander up, let me explain that I too believe anyone willing to put their life on the line to keep us free, deserves both respect and honor.  Yet, it is no secret that the people I admire the most have been those who followed a path of non-violence to initiate change; Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Peace Pilgrim, and Jesus Himself.  I have a t-shirt from the Disabled American Veterans I sometimes wear exercising which says, "freedom is not free."  Actually, God grants each of us freedom right from the start, so technically that is not a true statement, but I understand the intent of what it is reminding us of.  There are many in this world who would take away our freedom, so maintaining that God given freedom has not been free.  And, I am grateful and respectful of those who serve.  Still, I do not believe the path to peace and true freedom will ever come through violence or war.  I see danger in having young people see it as path of possible glory, rather than a path of last resort.   I experienced a similar uneasiness at Conner's Prairie (an upcoming


Scrapbook Photos page).  We happened to visit during their Civil War Days weekend.  As we watched some of the reenactment, I noticed young boys off to the side emulating the battle on the field.  As a male human being I have plenty of testosterone to channel just like any other.  And, as a person easily angered by injustice, past or present, it can be a challenge to find balance in the midst of it all.  But, I have reached a place where a warrior culture no longer entices me personally, nor do I see it as any kind of hopeful solution.  Sooner or later somebody bigger and stronger comes along and you end up on the bottom side of the stick.  "Teach and share" or "compete and compare" today's choice creates tomorrow's reality.  OK, enough philosophy, I will close this page with a mix of images. 


On the way out, I was surprised to see so many Ontario license plates in the parking areas.  Plus, we saw the wind was not overly kind to some who were camping overnight.   Also, a shuttle bus was available if desired. 


Although I primarily attended the Odawa Homecoming Pow Wow because I felt Aunt Gloria truly wanted to go, and I am the one in the family most often associated with anything Indian, all in all I had one of the better experiences in my around a dozen such events I have visited.  The respect afforded us in the simple offer to sit with the elders began things on a positive note and they stayed there throughout the afternoon.  I even stuck pretty much to my diet with a basic buffalo burger and just water.  Now that is a successful day.  Wado (meegwetch) to the Odawa. 


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