What I have witnessed

paddelnFor 7 days I had the opportunity, AT WILL, to enter a different reality away from the elections and the hateful, bigotry ridden times which have become our every day life. Television is full of killings, in fighting and bad news. This energy gets into your s
hair, your cloth, your consciousness, your dreams and your soul.

For 7 days I was privileged to have the opportunity to turn on my computer and watch…live… the celebrations taken place on the Nisqually Reservation. The canoe families arrived in Olympia, WA on a Saturday, They were tired and hungry from paddling such great distances. It was a total of 130 families which had made the journey. They came from as far away as Hawaii, Alaska, Utah and New York.

For 7 days one had the chance to forget about the world and all the problems, watching
dances, listen to stories. The dancing on day 6 lasted until 5 AM.

On the 7th day I decided to go to Nisqually to thank them, in person, for allowing me to share a live link to the festivities to the friends around the world. Links went to Switzerland, Austria, Tibet, Nepal, Germany, Algeria, Sweden, Denmark, England and Australia. It appeared so many of us from around the world stepped back from every day life and participated in the same going on’s.

I drove the 24 miles to Nisqually wondering if I could find a parking space etc, you know the usual anxiety which comes with going to an unfamiliar place. I had been there many times before but not in several years and so many changes took place. A new tribal center sprung up, everything looked different and I thought for sure I get lost. NOT SO. There were signs to point me in the right direction. I parked next to a portable ATM Truck which was in plain sight. I walked across the street into an are with many vendors who had came from every tribe on the West Coast. Some I recognized from the yearly Pow Wows I attend each spring. The Navajo friends were selling frybread like at all the events I had ever been to and it was good to see them.

There were trailers with Washers and Dryers, trailers with showers, Bathrooms for Elders in convenient places and honey Buckets in multiple locations. Hydration Stations and trashcans that were constantly maintained. I saw NO trash on the ground ANYWHERE. A little girl dropped her cup and picked it up without the mother directing her to do so.

I was driven in a cart -type -vehicle everywhere I wanted to go. I was informed as to where everything was. Multiple food-tents. I talked to the volunteer firefighters from Lacey Station # 3. I visited with them for a while and boasted about my son, who had been a volunteer at that station for may years to the point I often wondered why he even had an apartment, He was there all the time. The young men talked about their families and the nice weather we are having.

I stopped at the portable Tribal Police Station and talked about the affairs of the world and the dilemma we are confronted with the terrible drug problems affecting so many.

I had a Hoodie made for a relative’s birthday and conversed with a woman at the vender booth about her travels year around to events.

I was able to thank the Camera Operator for filming the event, he had been there for 11 hours just today, he said he was to tired to remember the total hours he had sat in the booth which resembled a tree-house more than a control room.

I was able to talk to the announcer and thank him for his hard work and provided him with a list of the countries in which the FBF reside and was able to watch live right along with the people present.

My intend was to get back to my car and go home but was instructed to go to the Elders Food Tent and eat. I did and the food was wonderful I had roasted potatoes, roast, carrots, Salmon and Fry Bread. The man dishing out the food said one of the pleasures he had was to see everyone with a full belly.

A close look at a canoe made me realize what a hard trip it must be to master the open sea like that. Some have children on board and I am just in awe how such a task can be accomplished.

kanusPicture by Laura Bowman

A Drone flew overhead, the first time I saw one in action.

It was such a wonderful experience, due to my age I doubt I am able to repeat it so close to home and I shall remember the 2 eagles following me for a bit on my way home.

Almost 2 AM on the 8th day, things are winding down, Elders are still sitting in the audience that time of the night, Potlach gifts are being handed out to everyone still present. I got a T -Shirt to commemorate I had been there as I departed.

Sad it has come to an end, When I get overwhelmed with the world I think I will try to reconstruct my experience by watching clips on youtube…. I don’t think nothing will ever compare to actually having been there in person.

I am here to tell you I have witnessed many things that, at this moment in time, is

RIGHT WITH THE WORLD!

adler

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