Monday, July 25, 2011

The Pow Wow at Big Indian

One of my room mates is a card carrying member of the Cree Tribe. Her name is Gina Sommers, but because she feels a special affinity with rabbits, she has assumed the name of Dancing Rabbit. She has a special connection with animals. A hummingbird came into our bookstore last summer and was trapped. We could not figure out how to get it free, but Gina just help out her hand and the hummingbird flew to it. She gently carried the bird back to freedom.

Gina's mother is Barbara, who lives in Kingston. They were both vendors at the Pow Wow in Big Indian on the 16th and 17th of July. Gina makes beautiful indian flutes out of wood and metal and leather. Her silver aluminum flute with a black ebony mouthpiece is striking. Barbara makes bracelets and earrings, and also dances at tribal events in the Hudson Valley and Catskills.

The pow wow was organized by the Big Indian Native Cultural Society, a 501.c3 corporation founded by Mary Lou and Frank Stapleton. Mary Lou appears below with her grandson, who was helping out at the family food stand selling fry bread and buffalo burgers. It seems to me that this cultural society is a sort of 21st Century super tribe which includes smaller groups from different tribes.

There were a lot of events in the rope enclosed dancing ring around the fire. One group came all the way from Mexico to dance at the pow wow.

The Sint Sink Drummers, led by Bill Dibennedetto and George Michaud taught some of the children to sing a song and accompany themselves on the big drum. The Sint Sink is a river near Albany.

The statement of principles of the pow wow makes a lot of sense. There was a feeling of good will, peace, and sociability at the pow wow. I certainly felt a good spirit among the people at the pow wow.

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