Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
Are these real Indians? asked World War II US Army veteran Robert Palmer on Saturday afternoon, as he maneuvered his motorized wheel chair outside so he could get a position on the sidewalk to enjoy the mini-powwow in the front black asphalted parking lot of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.
Still dressed in their regalia, powwow dancers provided the dancing.
Palmer and his fellow residents of the facility were to be the audience for the mini-powwow that was put on by a group of two dozen American Indians who crossed the street to drum, sing and dance for the veterans. This contingency of real American Indians had crossed the street from where the Grand Valley American Indian Lodge 51st Powwow was going on in Riverside Park, which sits along the Grand River in Grand Rapids.
“Some of the residents come over to our powwow, but told us that there are many who cannot make it across the street. So, several years ago, we decided to go over to them.”
said Lori Shusta, director of the Grand Valley American Indian Lodge.
“Some of the residents are not up to coming outside, but they line up to watch from windows above,”
The Wandering Nation drum provided the drumming and singing. Still dressed in their regalia, powwow dancers provided the dancing. The drum performed a veterans' honor song. Their last song was the American Indian Movement National Anthem.
“Thank you for your sacrifice. We appreciate everything you have done for our country,”
stated Bill Vandergriff, Odawa, who served as head veteran dancer at the Grand Valley American Indian Lodge Powwow. Vandergriff served as a corporal in the US Marine Corps in Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart.
After the mini-powwow, the real American Indians crossed the street to get ready for the Saturday evening Grand Entry. The smiling veterans went back inside the veteran facility.
posted September 10, 2012 7:50 am edt