Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
2015 POW WOW DATES AT PLUG POND
2015 SEPTEMBER 12-13 MCNAA Annual Intertribal Pow-Wow co-sponsored by the City of Haverhill, Plug Pond, Sanders Rd of Mill St., Haverhill, MA firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-642-1683.
BLOG POST WAS WRITTEN IN 2013 Last weekend the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness celebrated its 25th Annual Intertribal Pow-wow at Haverhill’s Plug Pond (AKA Lake Saltonstall). The gorgeous Plug Pond provided the backdrop for this colorful event and was itself bejeweled by a red 10+ person canoe. Kayaks also accommodated visitors interested in seeing the pond from atop. The tipi (not spelled “teepee” like we learned in history classes of old) offered traditional craft making and storytelling sessions as well as native games. Vendors showcased native foods and crafts for sale including braid guards, jewelry, drums and flutes as well as bumper stickers and tee shirts.
The Heartbeat of Haverhill had our calendar chock-a-block filled last Saturday. How to do it all? We ambitiously attempted to take in the Farmers Market (a necessity to our home food supply), the Pow-wow, and the River Ruckus. But with one of our members taking ill, we did the biggest disservice to understanding the intricacies of the Pow-wow. We hope others learn from our mistake and set aside a concerted amount of time to more fully experience the pow-wow in years to come.
With just an hour to visit, we were struck first by the variety of Native American wardrobe. We learned that the different clothing styles had as much to do with their function and the person wearing them as they did with the nation of the wearer. One young man predominently dressed in yellow wore a beaded necklace featuring a (Boston) Bruins logo that demonstrated the essence of the decor but with a modern twist. The Native American jingle dress twinkled in the light and jingled on the dance arena. The jingle dresses we saw were festooned with silver metal cones about the size of those old Bugles corn treats. There were headdresses of feathers and fur and antlers, and amazing beadwork. We stopped by one booth where a woman demonstrated finger weaving as she created sashes and belts in intricate multicolored patterns that we saw the participants wearing.
But the most compelling part for THOH was the drumming and the dancing, especially the “all dance” moments when everyone was invited to participate as they were moved by the drums. There were no right or wrong steps in this dance, just a sense of community. The drumbeats were relived long after we exited the pow-wow though we never accepted the invitation to dance. Ultimately what we missed out on with our too brief stay was the opportunity to see beyond what our eyes took in, to learn about philosophies and to understand the meaning behind the movements and sounds.
The Pow-wow and all the activities conducted by the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, a private 501©(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1989, are designed to fulfill its mission that is identified on the mcnaa.org website as: “to serve the cultural and spiritual needs of our native American constituents; and to increase public understanding, awareness, and appreciation about the history and issues of Native Americans.” Haverhill is honored that this important event is hosted every year at Plug Pond. Residents get to witness our nation’s earliest traditions in our own backyard. THOH is especially fortunate that we will all have an opportunity to learn more when the event returns next September. And since this is the history of our nation’s earliest peoples, we are all invited to support, join and participate whether or not we have direct lineage.
Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness www.mcnaa.org
Massachusetts Native American Geneology http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/massachusetts/
Native American Finger Weaving http://www.nativetech.org/finger/belts.html
©2013 by Alison Colby-Campbell