March 17, 2012

Quechan people

This week, in between working on my camper, I visited the local Historical Society with a friend and the director, Carol Brooks, showed us some amazing photographs taken of the forefathers of the original people of this area. There are several nations around here, but nearest are the Cocopah and the Quechan. This is a picture of Quechan men. They were previously called 'Yuma Indians', but are now called by the name they had given themselves, the Quechan.
At the recent pow wow I got to talking with an older woman (78) and she told me that she had been to boarding school and had not been allowed to learn her own language. We talked about the 'Trail of Tears' too.
I often talk to Native American people at the pow wows I go to, but this was the first time in 15 years that someone was so open about these two subjects. 

March 8, 2012

Pow Wow dancer

The girl in the photo danced at every opportunity and so beautifully. It is good to see the younger people keeping up with their traditions. Every visit to a pow wow I learn more and more about the original inhabitants of the United States. I sit and chat with whomever is open for a little talk. This year I sat next to the lady who decorates the most beautiful walking sticks with peyote stitch and her friend told me about the history of her people. She was in her late 70's and had to go to boarding school and only speak English. The children were not allowed to speak their own tongue. She introduced me to the docent who teaches Quechan to the childeren now. My English is better than my Dutch, but I am very happy that it is good enough to read, write and speak and that I learned the history of my little country. I can't imagine what it would be like if someone said, "you have to disown your heritage". Even as a child, growing up in South Africa, I was still aware that I was Dutch. However, I am not Dutch enough to be really Dutch, neither English enough, nor South African enough nor American enough, to be any of those either. I am just me, I suppose, and quite happy with it.

Here is a picture of the dancing girl's face.

March 6, 2012

Pow Wow

The weather is improving. Come to think of it, the weather needs no improvement here. It is always lovely in the winter. Still, the mornings are no longer chilly now, which they can be and the birds are singing loudly in chorus. It makes the heart soar. 
I can't believe that I haven't written on my blog for so long. Last year I was very active around this time, painting, drawing and posting. More recently I have returned to Facebook, writing a manuscript and working on my camper. I also discovered Pinterest, which I enjoy and feel that I learn all kinds of things. Some people think it's an enormous 'time-waster', just like Facebook, but you see some amazing photography and art, and if I didn't 'Pin', I would never have known this:

Now I know that it has a name.


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