I have been wanting to do this for years, and finally attended the Turtle Island dream Keepers 4th. annual Pow-Wow here at the Monroe county community college. The “Dream Keepers are a non-profit Native American organization that has hosted this event for educational purposes, and for an opportunity for intertribal gatherings. There were Odawa, Onandaga, Osage, Abenaki, Mohawk, Cherokee, Chippewa, Pueblo, and Blackfeet represented, as well as many others that i didn’t meet. As far as I know I was the only Cree represented (Northern.)
As I entered the College I met a real live WWII veteran. His name was Kenneth Jewson who served in the navy protecting our Pacific coastline against invasion. He was only 17 years old at the time , and is now a spry 88 years old. Kenneth is a member of the Onandaga Tribe and was accompanied by his grand-daughter. As I strolled the community college auditorium I met many Native American’s who served in the armed forces. There are some very fascinating stories among these brave men and women. Many of my fellow brothers served in the marines, with Salamander Bearwalker having a story that deserves to be made into a movie. Five tours of duty in Viet Nam (as a sniper) has “Hollywood written all over it. Bearwalker and his wife Nacombius had their 7-year-old grand-daughter with them. Ayita was going to help lead the dancing with her grandma and grandpa, as they do every year.
Sitting at a table right beside them was Wayne Hardwick who is the All Nations Veterans Council Leader. Wayne served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1974-77, and is from the Chippewa tribe. I have a picture of Wayne holding the “Eagle Staff” with the actual head of a golden eagle on the top. Eagle feathers run down the side as it honors those who have served this nation and those who have honored the Native American heritage.
Tom and Margaret Osborne had their “Northern Trading ” table set up with every fur-bearing animal in North America. Tom is quite a character as he has been a trapper, hunting guide, and world champion predator caller among his list of so-called jobs! I bought a racoon fur from him, as I needed one for my collection. Tom says he has actually called coyotes into his “lap” and he has the scars to prove it. Tom is also a Viet Nam veteran serving in 1966-67. Same years I served!
As I was looking around I came across Jack Hickey Jr. He was just setting up his display, but was gracious enough to talk with me awhile. He makes Native American Jewelry, and I must say his craftmanship is superb. I bought a beaded bracelet from him. Jack was representing the Osage Tribe. Randal Estrada was the next guy I had the pleasure of meeting. He goes to many of the Pow-Wow and makes authentic Indian Jewelry. Randal was just setting up his display, but what I saw was very impressive. Randal was representing the Santo Domingo Pueblo tribes from New Mexico.
I had noticed a women getting her grand-daughters regalia outfit ready, and once she was all set, I took her picture. Lilah (Thunder-Spirit) is from the Eastern Band of Cherokee. She was so proud of her outfit and I think grandma and grandpa were proud of her.
I have more I can write, but will save it for another day.