Pow Wow & Dancing

As God would have it, the 7th Annual Festival of Native Peoples was being held in Cherokee, NC on the same weekend we picked to go up for a quick mission trip!  I was so excited!!!  I always love the opportunity to get to see the Native dances :)

Here are a few highlights of the festival:

We got to see Teen Miss and Little Miss Cherokee
Miss Cherokee was there also - more pics of them later

This is the Totonac Pole Flyers from Mexico
5 guys climbed to the top of this pole
The one on top with the flute stood up and turned around in circles - yes!  that high up!  He stomped around and played and then the other 4 guys flipped off backwards!

No! I'm not joking!  They flipped right off their little perches! 
The 4 guys represented the four seasons.  As the pole turned, they would fly around in a circle.  The 13 turns of the pole added up to the 52 weeks of each year.  Eventually, they wound their way to the ground and turned upright.  Then one of them held the line, and the flute player came down it!  Totally amazing....and totally crazy!

This is three of the Apache (SW United States) dancers...they freaked me out a little.
Scott and I were walking around and suddenly heard something like a flock of birds hollering!
I turned around and looked in the direction of the sound, and these guys were about to come out of hiding and head to the stage to perform their Fire Dance.

The smaller guy with the cross on his head entered the stage first and left last.
He had some type of thing he would sling around that made a strange sound....little David's sling wouldn't have held a candle to this thing!  Of course, David had God on his side - BIG difference!

The whole gang of 4 performing the Fire Dance
At the end of their performance, they took their time going off stage, performing a blessing on all those who had their hand raised......
As I watched the crowd, I noticed all the Natives took this blessing seriously - regardless of what tribe they were from.  Many Natives still hold the same beliefs as their ancestors....even believing in the "Little People", little spirits that could be good or bad depending on whether or not you bother them.  There are many Christians on the reservation, but just like any where else, there are many who feel they don't need the Lord. 

I don't completely understand my heart, but I've always had a love for this people group.  I'm very excited about the future and the doors that I know God will continue to open for us to minister to the needs of the people in this area.

Miss Cherokee and Teen Miss are in this group picture
They asked people to come on stage and share a dance with them.
If this Georgia girl had not had on flip flops, I think I might've joined 'em!
On the other hand, I guess I could've cut a rug in my bare feet :)

This little girl & guy were from the Osage tribe
I got tickled at them....I saw him and asked if I could get his picture.  He eagerly agreed and then his little sister came up to get in the shot.  I had not seen her or I would've included her anyway.  But as soon as I was done, he quickly got on to her for jumping in the HIS shot....he told her I had asked HIM!  Children are the same in any culture :)

Here he is performing with the others in the Osage tribe
The Osage come from the Midwest
his little sister is shown here with their mom and Osage Princess

Cherokee dancers having a little practice time......

There were a couple of other groups we missed, but we also go to see the Aztecs.....
They had the most amazing costumes!
above: the speaker and drummer

a rain stick maybe?

check out the acorns on the shoes!

Girls just wanna have fun....this was ladies only!

the littlest Aztec....
 and she was gettin' down with the sound too, let me tell ya :)

I love all the color!

This next guy was blowing in a conk shell along with the drumming...

Friday night we went to a bonfire and heard Cherokee storytellers talk about their culture

This is where I learned that the Cherokee language does not have a word for 'goodbye' and there are no curse words in their language.
and they taught us them...cause I didn't do it.... how to do the Bear Dance
Give me a break....I had on flip flops!
Yes, I know...I need to wear something besides flip flops next time ;)
Here's the storyteller from Friday night at the festival Saturday...buying a new knife.
Yeah, I'm a 'creeper'....

and one final photo - a fave of mine....
something about this guy reminds me of my favorite movie, Dances With Wolves

More pics to come later about our trip.....

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