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Native Indian Lore
Crafts - Clown


ClownThe arena was decidedly busy. Josh was equally as busy watching the events unfolding before him. Heavily decorated dancers slowly maneuvered their way across the area. Their regalia of feather, intricate beadwork, and leather gently swung and swayed to the rhythm of the drum beat and to the movement of their bodies. Beautiful women both youthful and elderly placed their moccasin feet carefully to the steps while the fringes on their shawls swung back and forth as easily as their own graceful movement and unison with their partners and or quietly alone. The feel of a singular purpose permeated the night set there by the actions of the participants.

It seemed to Josh there was a tremendous level of controlled emotion. Just the day before he had seen these same people but tonight some way they were of another place. This was a time for them to become absorbed in something different from their usual daily chores, and he knew it. The power of the man dancers could only but reach out and send a shiver of excitement through him while he saw their working at controlling their body to the quick beat of the drum. Their softly covered feet were being lifted from the dusty ground in delicate light ways and they were just touching it lightly here and there as they kept the tension of measured steps. The shape of their foot was even transformed from that of being covered with a heavy shoe to this lovely dream light wispy way as their feet simply made staccato motions treating the ground as with a caress, there and then away, playfully.

If the men dancers worked at their performance, so too, the women were intent on what they were doing. Their countenance was different also. Straight forward they proceeded into the arena , giving no break from their concentration to anyone. Each one of their dress was different but still alike. Rich strong colors graced their shoulders in the softly draping fabrics of the shawls they wore. The girls who wore buckskin carried that shawl on her arm and it became a part of her total beauty with the color and design displayed while the fringe swayed in an opposite direction from her own movement giving a joyful look of sweet abandon from anything that is humdrum or dull. All this was achieved with the dignity of stoic appearance attributed to these people.

Catching the attention of the boy were the children. Each one of the small ones were simply miniature duplicates of their elders. If they did not get the steps or if they trailed their shawls loosely, sometimes, on to the ground it didn't matter. There was equally with them the same pleasure seen with their parents. In their miniature way the children were very serious in trying to follow in the steps of their parents. If Josh could not be a part of these activities because of his skin color this was not a problem with him. That was the time when fair skinned children of mixed blood were not pushed out into the arena and he accepted what could not be changed. As the years passed this was no longer a problem and there were in later times people of all races to participate in the social dances of the tribe.

Maybe it was this moment of a little sadness on Josh's part to have caused him to allow his attention to be caught by a solitary dancer. When he first looked up to see the performer it was as if the man's eyes were directly on him trying to catch his attention. While the boy gazed across and through the haze of dust kicked up by a sudden gust of wind he could see the tormenting stare of the man before him. Rather than ignoring this look he simply chose to meet it. When the man caught the boy's attention there was a change. Quickly now, there was the silliest stance to be adopted by the dancer. He was awkwardly pushing his derriere into an exaggerated posture wagging his backside in a most unbecoming posture. Where the other dancers were lightly touching the ground with their feet the clown was clomping along in a rough way so obviously unconnected he was standing out, but in an unattractive laughable way. There was a dress he presented to be even more of a joke. His breech cloth had triple x's marked on it like what had been originally a sack for flour.

When the drum beat picked up in tempo the war dancers did spin and whirl. The flurry of the feathers were whipping as they were pulled back and forth with the active speed put upon them. All the excitement of the moment was alive and upon all who were there. As if the clown was demented by his inability to keep up with them, all of a sudden he tore across the arena to the benches setting around the circle put there for the dancers between dances and during intermission. Leaping up onto one of the benches he was then head and shoulders above the others. With the attention given to his antics the spectators were as entertained by this clown as were those of any culture with their entertainers. Before he could continue with his solitary dance on top of the benches one of the judges stepped up to direct the antics of this unruly performer to a more sedate position.

Gone was any thought as to not fitting into the way of things. Josh was so taken by the light hearted silliness of that clown there was no place left for anything else but laughter.


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