Each year, in July, the Coeur d'Alene Indian tribe hosts the largest Pow wow in the northwest called Julyamsh. Representatives from tribes all over the U.S. and Canada come to this Pow wow. I've always wanted to go, but every year we've been out of town on that weekend. Not this year. This year I finally got to go. Ruth went with me. We enjoyed genuine Indian food, and watched the proceedings. There was drumming, and dancing, and wonderful ceremonies. At one point there were 800 dancers in the ring, all dancing at once, in their bright colorful regalia. It was a fascinating event. I took tons and tons of pictures, a few of which I'm posting here. Please click on them to enlarge.
The ceremony started with the Victory ride, which memorializes the hunters, or warriors, returning in victory. It was led by this fellow, who is a chief, but I don't remember what tribe. The photo, of course, does not do him justice. Actually none of the photos do the subjects justice. And this horse was absolutely magnificent! I've never seen a more beautiful horse in my life. It carried itself with such majesty.
There are basically 2 reasons why I wanted to go to Julyamsh.
First of all, I am part Indian. My grandfather was a Chippewa of the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa tripe. This is information that I have not known long, and the day I learned about it (my grandmother told me) I was quite shocked. I just thought Grampa had a really good tan all my life, because he was such an outdoors man. Besides, if you saw my Dad-as fair skinned as they come, with freckles and red hair, and both my sisters are fair and blongd, you'd doubt the existence of Indian blood in us too.
Anyway, I have been curious about my Indian heritage. Thus, the desire to go to Julyamsh.
The second reason? The beadwork! I have been dying to see the beadwork on the regalia. I was rewarded with awesomeness.
This ladies horse wear was even beaded. Beautiful!
Most of the men had gorgeous beaded cuffs on their wrists.
During the dancing ceremony, this young man was really putting his heart and soul into his dance. I really enjoyed watching him.
These two young people were sitting down in front of me. Beautiful bead work in her hair, and her head dress.
This fellow stopped in front of me to lean on the rail and rest a bit. They danced for well over an hour in the hot sun. Many of the dancers were wearing multiple layers of buckskin garments. There were ladies who's job it was to walk through the dancers and hand out ice cold bottles of water.
Most of the regalia is made by the wearer, or the wearers family or friends. Each symbol embroidered, appliqued, or beaded has a symbolic meaning. Some of them are tribal symbols, some are personal. Many of the materials used are natural, like skins, furs, bone, shell, porcupine quills, feathers, and whatnot. I did see some modern materials too. One fellow had actually used CD's in his head gear. It was beautiful. Much thought goes into the design and construction of these outfits because they have great spiritual meaning to the wearer.
All in all it was a wonderful experience. I'm so glad I went.
Have a good day.