Sunday, September 28, 2008
California Native American Day
Saturday was a day for celebrating California Native American traditions at many tribal lands all over the state, but the official Native American Day was Friday. I nearly forgot about it, because the event at the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Rancheria was not well publicized. I arrived in mid-afternoon, and was relieved to see that the dancing was still going on. Their land extends from the western edge of Willits westward into the hills.
The clothing and ornamentation on both the dancers pictured above is strictly for ceremonial dancing. You can even see the tan lines on the young man, showing that he ordinarily likes to wear a tank top, shorts, and full shoes. These costumes, especially on the man, are very specific to the Pomo people, and should not be confused with the traditions of other First Nations of North America. One of the common struggles of all Native American Indians is the fallacy that none of them survived the American conquest. They are now modern people like everyone else, with a rich legacy of cultural traditions. They are US citizens, who vote, serve in the military, attend local schools, and speak English. They are not required to live on tribal lands, but often choose to do so. Please look at my additional photos of this event linked here.
Also, I am pleased to be able to show you a short video, linked here, I took with my camera of one of the dances! It isn't perfect, but it's something.