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Native Indian Lore
Ponca Pow-wow, August  26, 2005


      It is dusk around the campground of the Ponca pow-wow at White Eagle, Oklahoma.  For his grandmother my son parked his recreation vehicle close to the river. The air-conditioned comfort of its interior allows Mother to run there when the heat becomes unbearable and it, indeed did become too much to endure this temperature, at times. My brother mentioned that he missed the smell of the campfires from earlier days and in a short while a small campfire was built beside us.

    This location was assigned many years ago to the great grandparents. Choice location by the river was given to the elders of our family. Today, we continue to locate there every year to camp. For my feelings it is no longer the choice I would make. After the 800 mile shore line of the Kaw lake has been established by the Corp of Engineers, Federal, these waterways are managed.

    The Arkansas river brings great masses of water down to the dam which must be released during heavy rains.  This Salt Fork runs high, too, channeling the run off into the Arkasnsas river below the dam. The rains we've had have caused this river to be almost at its highest point, right at the top of its banks. Some bits of earth falling off into it is happening, There will be no swimming in it this year. "There are angry spirits in flood waters," the elders remind us."  I might add, not to mention swift eddys of currents in greater depths created by the churning currents, too swift to allow a person to swim through them. 

    My brother Dan in regalia is waiting at the beginning of the program . He arrived early because he is the Chairman of the tribe and believes in leading by example rather than through wordy announcements of his position from over the loud speakers. The master of ceremonies the night before called this sacred ground. My husband deleted a number of orbs from this photograph which were in and above the ground here in this photograph.

    The picture of the young woman wearing the bone breastplate and bright yellow skirt is a descendant of Uncle Johnny Williams who is the oldest living male elder of the tribe. He is a few months older than our mother, Velma Jones, who is 92. Uncle Johnny still speaks for different occasions. He is a knowedgable carrier of the old ways. I respected this woman's wearing the breastplate of the warrior. In the old days it would have signified that she owned the heart of a warrior.

[Dorcas Kent Williams writes:
She and I both made that costume, however she made the breastplate herself. The moccasins she has on were my mother's,  Emily Kent. Her name is Sharvon Telain Vick. Telain, as we call her works for Tulsa Public Schools, with the Indian Education Program. This school year will be three years. When she first started, she was in the school rooms with the students. Allot of her kids were Ponca Indians. Because of that her dream was to have the Ponca language in the Tulsa area. Last spring, she contacted the right people and they have approved the Ponca language classes to be taught at the Tulsa County Library. it's a dream come true for her. She went to her dad Ceasar and her Uncle Curtis Lieb. Curtis is the person that will be doing the actual teaching. Very soon a big announcment will be in the Tulsa World and Tulsa Public schools. Needless to say, we are very proud of her. Dorcas Williams]
 

    My brother Dan stands behind Mother in one of the pictures. She looks wistfully out toward the arena where the final song of the  evening is being sung. One can only imagine her feelings and thoughts as she is finishing out one more pow-wow.

    My father was stern in his stand for what he believed. His warfare was for a world we could only envision where the greatest of accomplishments would be realized without going backward toward racial barriers. He inculcated into us this dream for a  bright future. However, as Dad grew older Mother was able to grab her youngest son and hold him to her values with her tribe. He is the only one who participates in these activities. We, of the older ones, respect the deep and good values of the Native American. We love our family of that Nation  but we respectfully abstain from the strength and dignity of their religion, albeit adulterated and weakened with the addition of other philosophies. Someone I call brother because of our traditional relationship and I discussed this as we sat at the campground visiting. He did not go into and around the arena and I asked why. He said, "My age and blood pressure won't allow me to keep getting upset over and over by the loss of our tribal ways."

I had to smilingly agree as I understood his feelings.


Gordon Roy with his wife who has her back to me. I went to school with Gordon at Chilocco. He has to be the most light hearted person I know who always keeps a bright outlook on life. They teased him from the speaker stand, calling him "The Golden Boy,"  but, I think, in fact he is golden in every way.


About all that can be seen here is the very nice sized arena which gives plenty of room for the dancers. A large number of singers and drummers were in attendance.


These are "Jingle dancers"  The little cone shaped pieces of metal  around their hips can just be barely seen. As the girls dance the metal of the small cones hit against each other and creates a sound all its own. This is what makes their performance unusual, this rythmic talking of the little cones is managed by the girl's steps.


Many different tribes were in attendance. This middle girl wears a shawl that is different from the Poncas. The quilt piecing techiques looks like it may be Cherokee.


These two little plantinum haired blonds dancing in the middle looked to be twins. Their regalia looks to be Cherokee, also. They were so on their toes and knew just what to do and when to do it. I really  thought they were so darling.


The round dance and this again shows the size of the arena. Orbs dancing in the sky.


Brother Dan, fourth dancer from the left. Sky covered with orbs.


Brother Dan again, on the left.


Straight dancer. I'm just blown away by the number of orbs in the sky. There is a very large one as big as the moon over the right side of the drummer's circle.


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