Every Wednesday afternoon, my whole family loads up in the car and heads to Binger. We've been bringing Jameson along since he was 2 (before then, we were super-strict about his bedtime and he stayed home with Dad). This past month, he's had the honor to sit at the drum with the big boys. Last week was his first time to hold a drum stick (above), and with some help from Dakota, he's actually starting to get the hang of it.
He does get a little bit of practice at home, usually on a much smaller drum. Or an upside-down laundry basket -- whatever works!
The other day, I took some photos of the Caddo dance ground. I was helping with a memorial dinner and went up the hill after we'd finished cleaning.
This is the Community Building. I've heard that it is the first structure to be built here, well before the tribal complex was established. This is the south end of the building. The north end has bathrooms with showers -- which get a lot of use during the summer camp.
This is the dance ground, looking northeasterly. This dirt has amazing staining properties. When folks refer to Oklahoma's red dirt, this is what they are talking about.
Being here when there is no one else around is sort of lonely. Since we haven't had much rain this summer, you can still see the footprints from the last dance (probably the closing dance at this year's Hasinai camp).
Looking east from the parking lot at the Community Building. You can't help but think of all of the folks who have danced here over the years, who set up camp and cooked over a fire, who visited with family and friends in the shade of the trees.
When I got back into my car after taking these photos, I had a hitchhiker.
It's time for the Indian Fair! I drove out to Anadarko this morning and met up with Tracy's bunch to watch the parade. Boy howdy, was it hot! The bank's thermometer said it was 125*, but I don't think it was really that hot. This is going to be an image-heavy post. You've been warned.
A Color Guard to start off the parade. This is the Comanche Indian Veterans Association Color Guard. They were followed by a marching band and bag-pipers (in kilts!).
Charlie Parton, Anadarko Schools' most devoted and spirited fan. "Let's get fired up!"
Here come the floats.
Two staples of the Indian Fair parade -- princesses and ponies. This is Arapaho Tribal Princess Mikayla Skye Horse.
A couple of lovely ladies carrying the banner for the Delaware Nation.
Here's Delaware Nation Princess Silvina Kionute. See those beads she's throwing? I caught 'em!
I don't know how these little guys managed not to pass out from dehydration.
Samantha Wells is serving as the Junior Princess for the Oklahoma Southwest Vietnam Veterans organization.
Next up is the Caddo Nation.
Shayna Sullivan was selected as the Caddo Nation's princess.
Remember that I mentioned is was REALLY hot today? These guys know how to stay cool.
The Apache Fire Dancers are always a favorite.
Some of these men were sweating off their paint.
This mischievous guy helped himself to a kid's candy.
Aiden Cozad, braving the heat in buckskin and wool, is the Kiowa Tribal Princess.
This sign was one of several on a vehicle, representing a drug intervention program (I think). I have many questions, not the least of which is why would someone replace their thumb with a beer bottle.
Here's Comanche Nation Princess Desire' Attocknie. Smart girl has her water close at hand. A lot of floats threw bottles of cold water instead of candy. Best. Idea. Ever.
Comanche Little Ponies Princess Angelica Blackstar has that princess wave down.
And in the last photo, we have Carrie Makah Klinekole, the Princess for the Kiowa-Apache Blackfoot Society. This young lady deserves big time credit for making it to the parade this morning since the Blackfoot Society had their annual ceremonial this past weekend. That's dedication, right there.
Last Saturday, we had a memorial dinner for Diane Sparks, an elder who recently passed away. Memorial dinners are always bittersweet events. We remember those who have left us and share a meal with those who we hold dear. Diane was an important part of the community. She regularly attended the Hasinai Summer Camp and was a member of the Caddo Nation's tribal council. We will miss her quiet presence at camp, as well as her wise advice.
The flags were flying at half-mast Saturday. A dedicated group of ladies prepared a traditional meal, including habushko, corn soup, pork and hominy, fry bread, and grape dumplings. Everything came out perfect. Other folks brought side dishes and desserts. After a short service, people shared remembrances of Diane and sang Caddo hymns. It was a beautiful send-off for a beautiful lady.
On March 2nd, I did a presentation for the Hasinai Society's weekly meeting. This talk will covered the 150-year history that the Caddo and Delaware share and the impacts that this has had on their cultural traditions. Originally, I developed this presentation for the 2010 Delaware Nation's History Summit.
In putting together this presentation, I came across this 1830s era depiction of a Caddo woman's dress (at left). Though a lot has changed, this vaguely reminds me of the blouse and skirt outfits that are worn today.
This photo (at right) is an example of contemporary Delaware clothing (from the Lenape Legacy powwow in 2002). Naturally, I was struck by the similarities between this outfit and the 1830s Caddo outfit, especially the dark blue skirt.
What we see at right is similar to the two-piece Caddo dress worn today, except that the Caddo skirt would be ankle-length and much fuller, usually worn with an apron and without leggings.
Rhonda S. Fair
I am a cultural anthropologist, currently employed
as the Tribal Liaison for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. This
position gives me the opportunity to apply my ethnographic training, as well as
do archaeological fieldwork. I am also on the faculty of the University of
Oklahoma's College of Liberal Studies.