my life time I have attended many Powwows to
dance and meet old and new friends. The Powwows
as they are called, have been the American
Indians way of social gatherings for thousands
Much of the traditional ways have been bent and
reshaped to work in the modern world but under
it all for the people lies the real spiritual
meaning of these gatherings.
Many things change and other nations cultures
are brought into the Powwow. Yet still the
essence of the spiritual way is always in the
core of the gathering.
Dancers dance for the people and drummers sing
and play for the spirituality of the dancers and
These things never change and the people are
like one big family who enjoy getting to gather
This year I had agreed to share a vendor tent
with a good friend who also is the C'annupa
carrier for the Metis people of Maine. I met him
through my daughter Debbie and we have become
close friends; in fact we adopted him into our
Like some old ruffed up and ragged teddy bear
Trip has come into our lives and our hearts.
With all his many health issues we support him
and make sure he is taken care of.
it was with some sense of adventure we decided
to share his booth at the Powwows this year.
The weather was predicted to be wonderful for
the weekend, and we both were really excited to
get the tent set up and our wares all placed on
The land it was being held on belongs to this
small band of people who work hard to give the
people a place to do ceremony and celebrations.
Many would be attending we were told and a good
amount of vendors would be setting up along side
After hooking the new used trailer that Trip had
bought to my truck we headed out to the land.
The field that was to be used had been planted
with corn the year before so the uneven ground
gave us some challenged for pulling the trailer
across to our spot.
On Friday we pulled his travel trailer filled
with so much stuff it was hard to sort it all
out in the few hours before the Pow Wow started.
Being a ridged Virgo I had a hard time with his
laid back mellow ways.
We set up the tents and unloaded most of Trips
treasures. It was hot and muggy so we did the
best we could before heading back home. I had
little to set up just some bead work and my
table for private talks, so I had a very easy
part in all of this.
Early in the morning on Saturday Trip arrived
and we took my truck over to the land. We worked
hard on the tent and during that time Trip had
to smudge the arbor where the drums would be
played and also bring in the flag as a Veteran
for the grand opening. I was in the tent
frantically setting up piles of things in some
sort of order.
the people started to arrive and we were busy
talking to them and selling items.
Much of the things that he has for sale were
used leather jackets and other gently used
clothing and moccasins.
He also carries many other items to numerous to
Some what of a traveling Gypsies he gathers
things all year for the flea markets and the Pow
Wow's. The true native person is really into the
bargain of the trade so he fits the roll
perfectly. I think that I may make a banner that
says "Trip's Trading Post" for our next
After the setting up I went back to the trailer
to clear off the beds and get the place in order
for the night. We would not have power so it was
important that it would be done before sun down.
I had brought water food and ice so we were all
set for Saturday and Sunday.
It became so hot that the least exertion brought
sweat pouring down you face. At one point my
eyes burned from the salt of the sweat.
Drinking enough water was key to keeping fit
today and the dancers were out there in the sun
enduring the dance Inipi "sweat lodge" as we
started to call it.
I sit down under the opening to our tent and
took a few minutes to get a breath of air and
drink some water.
It was during that time a very strange thing
saw a small thin man come into the tent he was
thin and his skin the color of coffee. He wore
a pair of old blue jeans and a much worn shirt.
He also had an old round hat on his head. I
noticed the thin arms and the tattoos that were
hard to see against his dark skin.
He first went over to where Trip was talking to
some people and I sit back and watched him. He
then came over to where I was and took my hand
in his two hands as a greeting. I felt the thin
skin and the bones that were so close to the
surface. Long slender fingers with a powerful
grip held my hand tight. I could do no more than
return his greeting and listen.
He referred to me as Granddaughter and I to him
as Grand Father returning the honoring with "
Grandfather have you eaten?" His reply was yes
Granddaughter I have eaten.
After that he walked back to where Trip was
standing and still talking then in a few
minutes he returned to me and said, "do not
worry it would all be alright". I replied to him
that I was honored to have met him.
His face half hidden under the old black hat
never let me see his eyes or the full face.
There was a presence about him that did not hold
physical bearing but spiritual. There was also
the feeling that you had just touched spirit and
met someone very important.
I thought this whole thing strange as I did not
even know who he was, or his name.
He was dressed as no other person there and
reminded me of the old ones back on Pine Ridge
when I was a small child. The worn clothes and
the quiet gentle ways always let you know that
you were in the presence of the old ones. The
wisdom keepers and the holders of stories for
the people. We as children were quick to find
these old ones and listen to the stories that
The quiet way and the gentle respect he had for
others showed in his walk and his greeting.
I felt honored he had come into the tent and
took a few minutes to hold my hand in his.
He waked out of the tent and I did not see him
I set there with a my mind racing here and there
with this old mans words. How did he know I have
been deeply troubled in my life? I have been
over whelmed with decisions and things I must do
to survive yet more here in this house. money
issues pensions and all that are left when your
husband dies are hard on the remaining person.
He old man's few words seem to put a healing
balm over my open wounds. The strange words he
spoke were like the touch of a feather and made
me feel at peace.
I later on ask Trip who the old man was and he
looked at me and said he had seen no such man
in the tent.
I questioned the wife of the Chief of the Metis
people and she had no idea who I was referring
There was no way a person could not have seen
him as he was like no other person on the
Today I understand more and will hold this and
the words spoken to me in my heart. These words
have given me courage and strength to go on. I
know he was there in the tent be it in spirit or
in the flesh so that is all I need to know.
mind was taken off the strange meeting of this
elder by the invite to tell some stories to the
children. I was very honored by this request and
accepted the tobacco offered without thinking
twice. Bob Silver Eagle and his wife ask me out
of the blue. they are good people and I am
sure there is a connection here for the future.
I have no idea why I was ask as they really do
not know me; but I am deeply honored by this.
I do enjoy telling the old stories to the
children, and singing the old songs.
Many times when we ask for answers and seek
guidance we are given a messenger to bring words
of healing to us. It is up to us to be aware and
to understand the many wonderful ways that
Creator can reach out and offer us strength and
hope. Never question the messenger and always be
open to the words your given. I know that
changes are coming but now I feel at peace and
know it will all be done in a good way. My heart
is at peace and my mind is at rest knowing that
all will be well.
Many Blessings Nupah Makah
Copyright (C) 2009 by Nupah Makah L Cota All
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