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Friday, September 7, 2012

Oka Kapassa Festival

The kids and I got to go to the Oka Kapassa Native American Festival. We had lots of fun seeing all the presenters and hearing about native American arts and life.

One interesting thing I learned about he festival itself is the name Oka Kapassa. It means "give water". Apparently when the Indians came through on the Trail of Tears the settlers here in Tuscumbia gave them water. The festival is to honor that gift.

I have been to several Native American gatherings when I lived in New Mexico and Arizona and the all leave me a little sad and always in awe of their culture. When we lived in New Mexico we went to a true traditional festival on a Reservation. We were invited by a lady that works with my mother and there were very few "white" people there, mostly the tribe. They did there feast dancing in the make-up and garb in the same Square where they had done it for 100 yrs. The ground was eroded at least 3ft from all the years and years of dancing. It was amazing and not at all like in the movies. Seeing the fierce make-up, the war calls and the drums really makes you appreciate the fear that the early settlers had. It also gave me a great respect for Native Americans.

I also have to say, even though people always laugh because I am so pale, I am part Indian! I am part Cherokee and Comanche. My family has a wonderful photo of my Comanche ancestor and her husband standing in front of the home they had build out in the wild west!

Here are some pictures I took of the kids and the presentations!

This man showed use how to make a canoe, you burn and scrap and burn and scrap! I loved his hat with the metal, it made me think of the old westerns I used to watch as a kid.

This gentleman showed us the traditional flutes that he makes and the horse hair head piece that the warriors wore.
I wish I could have gotten more pictures of the dancers and a video of my kids trying to do the dances, but alas the kids were getting a bit rambunctious by this time and I only managed the one shot!
Look at that boy sitting so still and at least looking like he is listening ;)
Lunch over at the pond and in the shade, it was hot!