More reflections from the Pow wow trail


I breathe in the fresh smell of grass and dirt as I drive into the pow wow grounds. Ah! It feels good to be here! I look at the sunset and see the same colors of the setting sun in the grand entry as I watch the dancers enter the dance arena. I look around and see them dancing. 1 see them singing at the drum. I see them in the audience. Who do I see? Pow wow bums! Then I smell food in the air. Realizing I haven't eaten yet, I wonder over to a nearby stand.

Women are standing there in their aprons smelling like frybread and their hands covered in dough. Of course, a real pow wow bum doesn't always get the pleasure of frybread and Pepsi or mutton stew or bannock burger. We usually get stuck with bologna sandwiches and water. Our mouths water when we hear the announcer mention that a family is putting on a feed during supper break! All the pow wow bums run over and get some pow wow stew, bread, potatoes, and watermelon. You don't need Slim Fast to lose weight. You just need to go on the pow wow trail and get on the pow wow diet! You will surely lose more than enough weight!

After finishing some stew and frybread, I walk back to my car to set up my tent. While walking back, I look around and see all the pow wow vans and rez rides. Many of which got to the pow wow just somehow ... on luck. Going from one pow wow to the next saying "l hope it makes it!" On several rides I see a tarp on top of them, carrying Indian suitcases ? garbage bags! We also may find pow wow bums with those old faithful suitcases from years and years of pow wow trails. It looks like it came from Salvation Army or something. It's something Salvation Army wouldn't even accept as a donation!

Its all duct-taped up! Somehow you just can't get yourself to buy a new suitcase, that trusty old thing has brought you many memories. It held all those snagging clothes and black socks that were once white!

I set up my tent. I wish I could have placed at the last pow wow so I could be like one of those rich pow wow bums and get a hotel room. They've got the luxury of not having to go to the bathroom in a portable. Or not having to wait in line for over an hour to take a shower. They don't have to hear teenagers all hours of the night. Yep, those rich pow wow bums don't have to wake up to the hot sun and hear babies crying.

But sleeping on the hard ground, hearing the sounds of laughter and babies crying all hours of the night is not so bad ... if you're a tipi creeper! You love whispering into the ear of your snag, "come stay at my tipi tonight." Especially them singers. They don't whisper it. They sing it. Make it into a round dance song. Them tipi creepers sometimes wake up the next morning, take off to the shower and get back just in time to braid their hair and slap on their outfit and run off to grand entry. Usually, they wake up just in time to slap on their outfits and go though grand entry with bushy braids and hickies!

The afternoon grand entry is always hot and sweaty. But it's worth it. It's more than earning points. After hearing those pow wow jams I always just let go and start to get that feeling. I can't explain it. It's a feeling of true happiness. Perhaps something more. When I'm out dancing, I dance not only for myself. I dance for the elders. The ones wrapped in blankets when it starts to get dark. The ones that sit in the front row wishing their legs had strength to dance.

The sun is rising. The air is getting warm. I breathe in the fresh air as I drive out of the pow wow ground. Another pow wow come and gone ...