It’s time once again to get in your rez car and head down the Pow Wow highway. Strangely enough there are no Eeyou Istchee Pow Wows listed this year so you’ll have to travel far.
Not all people, Native or otherwise, are Pow Wow people so a quick lesson in etiquette at this point is probably a good idea.
Rule Number 1: Do NOT, whatever you do, hit on the Pow Wow princess because one doesn’t try to pick up royalty. And you’re probably so stuffed on goose fat that your wife has to roll you down the road instead of walking you. Good luck snagging an Indian Princess.
Rule Number 2: PLEASE do NOT play the Hollywood Indian beat should you be honoured with the opportunity to drum with one of the groups. Keep in mind the drumbeat is our Mother Earth’s heartbeat and not our elderly drunken diabetic about to have a stroke or our dirty uncle on mescaline – or acid, depending on which part of Indian Country you find yourself in.
Rule Number 3: If you find yourself in the bazaar that IS a decent Pow Wow. Do not haggle on the price of that twist of sweetgrass or a pack of cigarettes. Insist that those plants are sacred and they should be shared with all alike, do the “trade” and get the hell out of there.
Rule Number 4: There IS no rule Number Four! The very number is sacred. You might as well try to get off the 13th floor on a New York City high-rise.
Rule Number 5: Do not snicker and mock our Indian brothers who bought their “traditional” regalia from our powerful Chinese capitalist kin. We ARE only separated by 30,000 years, you’ll be pleased to find out. I love the Chinese, but especially the Mongols.
Rule Number 6: This is one of THE most important rules, even though it’s only six on the list so pay attention. Do not dress like the Lakota, Dakota or the Nakota – because everyone does and I have a feeling that they are a bit pissed off about it. Discover your own closet and find something wearable, Pow Wow-wise that says, I’m Cree and I’m wearing this piece of beaver skin, accented with muskrat feet, topped up with the tail of moose and dazzled with an Inuit scalp that proves my people were a fierce as those lousy Sioux.
Rule Number 7: Do not even think of going beyond the number seven. For that number is a human number. And I think you have to listen to Iron Maiden for that fatal clue. Or was that the number six. Rest assured the Rules & Etiquette of Pow Wow don’t go as high up as 666. The Lord be with thee, Injun. You’ll need Him.
Rule Number 8: I don’t get paid enough for this number of words so I’ll get some sleep and head to the coast tomorrow bright and early and soak in the sun. Good luck and have fun on this year’s Pow Wow highway.
Rule Number 20: You weren’t even paying attention, were you?