Recently it was “All Kings Day”, and here in New Mexico at some pueblo’s had a “Feast Day” to celebrate. Most pueblo’s are a heavy mix of not only the Native American spiritual beliefs, but also Catholic. Feast days are a huge mix of both religious, or spiritual beliefs resulting in dances, and on this day that included Buffalo dances. I grew up standing at the drum watching pueblo ceremonies, singing my heart out, and even falling asleep because of how long these went. As I got older, I started participating, and yes, it’s life changing. Every time I attend a pueblo ceremony, or participate – the best way I can describe it is being in a dream-like state. With being educated on the Seventh Generation Prophecy said by Crazy Horse, I’m starting to see that exact prophecy come together.
“Upon suffering beyond suffering; the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things, and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be as one.” -Crazy Horse
My hair stood on end when Crazy Horse (His horses are spirited is what his name actually means by the way – not crazy horse) talked about young white people coming to use for wisdom because it’s been in the process for decades. In fact, they were crowded around me at the Pueblo asking questions, and excited to be there. I’m glad people that are not of Native decent are actually interested in the very old, and deep roots in our culture, but some however just want to see us…like the circus.
Most whites will complain about “Native attitude” when visiting reservations – which I understand both sides. Visitors of the past, and present have contributed to exactly why Natives have to act the way they do…and I was horrified to have them around me. Here are some little tips of what I observed if you ever do want to visit a Pueblo Ceremony, and if you truly want to be considered a gracious visitor.
Do Not Wear “Native Inspired” Clothing
The level of embarrassed I felt for everyone that wore fake Native Inspired prints, and clothing was just beyond high. You will not blend by wearing these items, or make natives happy because these intended prints stick out. You are supporting people that “mooch” off of genuine designs. Support inspired Natives, not “Native Inspired.”
Do Not Ask the Families Questions or Applaud Dances
Pueblo ceremonies are exactly that…ceremonies; just like if you were in a church. Don’t interrupt, or over speak to ask questions about what the dances are about. That’s something to research later after the crowd has progressed. Also, it’s not a performance so clapping would be a tad ridiculous.
DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT “Keep the Beat” or Dance with the Dancers
Lawd have mercy. I could’ve passed out seeing people jumping and bouncing along with the drums. If you are not a dancer, you are not dancing. Dancers go through a preparation to be a dancer with the correct regalia, painting, praying, blessings, traditional hair styles, feathers…not even the women on the side “bounced” along. It’s disrespectful. Yes, the music is beautiful, and its tempting to want to join in (for me at least) but that is considered just horrendous.
These are real things that I observed on Wednesday during the Pueblo ceremony that maybe just might help you understand what not to do, and why. Some visitors looked upon dancers like they were literal animals, or a show to watch. They smirked, not taking anything in, only to want to snap chat later that they saw “real Indians.” Others cried asking me if that was normal (yes it is actually, to be that spiritually moved) and commented that this was the most human thing that they ever witnessed. These ceremonies are older than America. Please go back and see what puts our spirit in balance…and be respectful while witnessing it.