Sunday, September 19, 2010
We finished up our powwow weekend with our regular Sunday morning mass. We were joined by a lot of visitors who were able to stay and take part. With our students and circle of supporters together in one place, in prayer, I felt very uplifted. Shaking hands after church I also got loads of hugs and support as people said goodbye. I stayed quite a while afterwards to take pictures and answer questions.
After all the activity I felt tired and took it easy the rest of the day. The last few days I haven’t kept up too much on reading, and I went through the accumulated stack of newspapers and periodicals that were on the coffee table. There’s so much I don’t know, which is humbling. But it encourages me, and I encourage others, to be lifelong learners.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Rain overnight and temperatures in the 40’s when we lined up for the Grand Entry made for a cold day. But it couldn’t dampen people’s spirits as our 34th annual powwow went forward. But at least it stayed dry and allowed the dancers to demonstrate their skill and commitment. We have a wonderful video recap that can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59wKfWH_amw .
I was blessed with seven members of my family present to share in the day. I only saw them for brief periods of time, as I tried to visit with donors, students and their families. I also tried to check in with staff to make sure things were going ok. We’re good at improvising to meet needs. Someone even went up to Central Receiving and came back loaded with blankets and gloves to people who were caught unexpected by the cold. My sister Mary had earlier gone through every coat and jacket in my closet digging out gloves to ensure warmth for all my family.
I just enjoy watching our students and area youth dance with such joy and enthusiasm. One of our new 7th graders was so filled with energy and excitement she even danced on the sidelines when the boys were competing. The smiles as kids come out for the Grand Entry are infectious.
Our St. Joseph’s Drum Group, the Chalk Hills Singers, made their debut. They only learned one song, but sang it with great gusto during an inter tribal dance. One student commented afterward “that was fun – I can’t wait to do it again!” That’s what we hope for – that learning about culture can be fun and meaningful. I stood by the drum in support and got quite choked up a couple of times.
When we handed out the awards at the end of the day, I was happy for not just those students who won, but by all who were winners because they are dancers. I’m grateful for our visitors who shared in the experience with us.
Friday, September 17, 2010
The festivities for our 34th annual powwow kicked off today. This morning we hosted a series of four cultural activities at the Rec. Center. Donors learned how to build their own dreamcatcher, play some traditional Lakota games, learn some drum songs, or spend time with our Child Services Staff for questions and answers.
Since standing for long periods still hurts the nerves in my leg, I grabbed a high backed stool and sat in the museum by the reception desk so I could greet folks as they came in. The stream was steady, but with a little time between guests, I got to visit and say hello. Some people are regulars year after year. One woman from Connecticut has been helping for 43 years and this was her first actual visit to St. Joseph’s. She was very excited.
Our students led groups on tours of the school in the afternoon. I’m sure folks got a different perspective than if our staff had given the tour.After school we gathered in the Rec. Center for the crowning of our Royalty for the powwow. These students represent the school for the coming year, and are all active dancers. They are chosen for their good attitudes and commitment to Lakota and St. Joseph’s values.
Jasmine Pickner, a world champion Hope Dancer gave a stirring performance for the assembly. She taught our students not just Hoop Dancing, but traditional values. She had a wonderful way with the young people and visitors alike.
We ended the evening with a banquet across the river at Cedar Shores Resort. Different groups we do business with donate each year to allow us to treat our guests to a festive meal. We had over 300 gather for hors d’oeuvres, a meal, and a presentation on dance styles and regalia for the powwow.