Friday, August 26, 2005

Powwow at Riverfront Park

Rhonda and I took the kids to the Spokane Powwow in Riverfront Park and picked up Shingo at his hotel. It was his first powwow ever.

I didn't dress in my regalia (I haven't dressed in several years), but I took the kids out to the floor and danced most of the intertribal songs that evening. It was a bittersweet experience...on the one hand I felt happy to be dancing again and seeing old friends; on the other hand, there were a few people I would have rather not seen...people who have hurt our family. I had mixed feelings, but was glad overall.

After the grand entry, Uncle Pat gave the invocation in the Spokane Language; I was surprised how much of it I understood and was able to translate for Rhonda. During the English portion of his prayer, he mentioned Shingo and asked him to go to the front of the dance arena. Shingo was standing with me and was unsure what to do...he didn't want to run through all the dancers, but I ran with him, so he felt better about it. When uncle introduced him, he bowed to the crowd in traditional Japanese style.

I was standing at the front when they started the prayer song and the victory song. My cousin Gabby was the arena director and asked me to receive the American flag. I was surprised by his request, but I couldn't say no. At the end of the victory song, the dancer with the American flag, handed off to my uncle, and the man with the eagle staff, handed to me. So there I stood at the front of all those people, friends and enemies alike, holding the eagle staff. I felt humbled; and very unworthy...I felt like crying, but of course, I didn't.

It was an emotional day, but I'm glad I went. I'm glad for the experiences I had, and that my children got to dance, if even just a little. I'm glad to have met Shingo...I hope this is the beginning of a long friendship.

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