Thursday, August 16, 2007

Intertribal Ceremonial 2007 – I Love a Parade

Normally, it’s somewhere between difficult and impossible to photograph Native American dances when performed on a pueblo or reservation. The tribal officials rightly control ceremonial images as part of their heritage. Often, aspects of the dances are sacred. On other occasions, visitors attempting to photograph the dances rudely interrupt or interfere with the dancers. This leads the pueblo government to prohibit ANY photography as a way of respecting the ceremonial significance of the dances.

That is one of the things that so enhances the Inter-tribal Ceremonial Parade on the streets of downtown Gallup, New Mexico. Tribes are represented by flag or banner guards, princesses, from pre-school to seniors, and the dancers. The dancers stop and dance whenever the crowd claps and cheers loudly and enthusiastically enough.

This years parade included representatives of the Hopi, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Navajo and Zuni. A highlight was the Zuni Indian Olla Maidens, who march with pots balanced precariously on their heads. When they do the pot dance, with the pots still resting on their heads, it is sedate and elegant. All the dancerws

Another highlight for Susanne and me was the presence of the Navajo Code Talkers, in their characteristic yellow jackets, passing by in two open-bed pick-up trucks. As veterans of the Marine Corps’ participation in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War, the remaining members of this heroic group of Native American Indians are aged, frail and slipping away.

Tears of emotion and gratitude swelled in our eyes as the first group came into view. This was only to be both deepened and lightened when the parade paused, while one more Code Talker veteran, who apparently had overslept, was golf-carted to join his comrades, using his walker to get into the cab.

We will attempt to post a link to a streaming video that was taken from the sidelines as the parade passed, with apologies for the inferior quality caused by shooting from the sidewalk gallery. We debated even showing it. But decided there is enough of interest to make it worth viewing.

The parade is only one aspect of the Inter-tribal Ceremonial, with its home venue at Red Rocks State Park, just east of Gallup, off of fabled Route 66. Even more important to the Native American artists is the juried art show. Hundreds of categories and classes encourage potters, painters, jewelry makers, carvers, sculptors, weavers and basket weavers. We’ll be posting a list of the winners in a separate message.

We already know that Jeff Tsalabutie took a best of class award for a bear fetish carving in in lapis lazuli. More about all this in the future.

William Ernest Waites and Susanne Waites are in New Mexico for Indian Market. They made a side trip to Gallup and Zuni to celebrate at the Intertribal Ceremonial and to acquire new fetish carvings and jewelry from the artists at the incredibly productive and talented Zuni Pueblo. These will soon be posted to the ZuniLink and Native-JewelryLink online web galleries.

Thank you for visiting.