Thursday, April 29, 2010

More from the PowWow

This woman appeared to serve in the capacity of judge for some of the entries. She had not only this role, but that of dancer as well:

When the elder women danced, they were less wild and rambunctious in their movements than the children had been; at some times, they seemd to be moving little but almost shuffling.

After the elder women danced, elder men danced next. They are faster than the women, but not as fast, however, as the children. But they made up for it in their much more extravagant regalia.

Part of the PowWow's significance is to build community and pass on traditions. Young children are seen learning about their heritage from their elders throughout the days of the PowWow, or Wacipi. Songs play a vital role in their culture. In addition to participating in the traditional dances and songs, Native Americans come to visit family and friends,and to make new acquaintances.

I've read that an important duty prior to the Wacipi is purification of the PowWow grounds. This is to help ensure that only good thoughts and feelings will occur there, and that everyone will have a good time. Once the grounds are blessed, it is considered sacred and everyone is asked to keep it as clean as possible, with good thoughts and positive feelings.

The drum is one of the most sacred positions to hold in Pow Wow. Women are never allowed to drum. Women in the group will sing and lend support only.

Head Man and Woman dancer is an honor gained by overall traditional values and PowWow status. These head dancers are chosen to represent all adult dancers at the PowWow. They are chosen for the position by their knowledge of traditions, their previous awards in PowWows and also by their example of good traditional living and embracing their culture. These adults will lead in the other dancers when the Grand Entry of dancers occurs at the PowWow.

Visitors, including non-Native Americans, are important to a Wacipi. Native Americans feel an obligation to be welcoming to visitors and to help them feel at home when attending a PowWow. Many communities consider it very important to host visitors to the best of their ability. This can take the form of creating a friendly atmosphere or providing a feast.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Wacipi. . . continued

This is a little booth of dreamcatchers set up at the Wacipi:

We might edit photos; sometimes a person's just gotta edit feather placement before the dancing:

I found this moment quite moving. This is a group of people lining up to shake the hands of people who had earned degrees, at any time, at the University of North Dakota. The elders led the line. I was touched by the mix of worlds of the Native American military woman shaking the hands of, and honoring, this elder and graduate.

And here is another shot of the same man.

Thank you for all your kind words about this set of photos. If you ever get to North Dakota in April, be sure and see if you can attend a Wacipi!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wacipi--Kids and Drummers

Tonights photos from the Wacipi start out with this shot of a circle of the drummers. Drumming is very important in a Pow Wow, and there's usually drumming throughout all the days of the event. The drumming and dancing must get exhausting, and can last for days!

I found this information about the drumming: "The drum is recognized as a separate entity and represents a liaison with our Creator, containing thunder and lightening, and when struck calls the Creator's attention and the spirits of our forefathers."

Usually, when one group was drumming, someone stood nearby with a mike on a pole suspended just above the drums to broadcast the sound of the drums to throughout the arena.

The rest of these photos are of the little dancers. They seemed to have an abundance of energy even while the adults appeared to slow down! Forget getting a sharp image of these whirling dervishes! When they dance, there's going to be blur!


On another note, I just wanted to share something I learned today: At my work, over this past week, we had the unfortunate experience of having our McAfee antivirus subscription manage to install an update that had bad data that basically totally messed with our computers. They were inoperable for most of the week. Finally, today, a wonderful and perhaps brilliant computer guru bot to our office and installed the patch created to repair McAfee's chaos. Troy recommended that we use Avant's free antivirus, rather than McAfee's paid program. He also recommended malwarebytes for anti-malware, and ccleaner for getting rid of the basic junk on the computer.

Just thought I'd pass this info along!

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Wacipi

I'm still enjoying posting the Wacipi photos. I like the tenderness of this shot. Look how little that little cutie is!

One very striking thing about a Native American Wacipi (Pow Wow) is how cross generational it is. The elderly are definitely treated with respect. And teen girls are teen girls in any culture!
In these next two photos, I isolated my focal point by doing my usual Lab mode editing (increasing the contrast and brightness in Lab, and then converting back to RGB profile), then I created a lens blur layer, used the magnetic lassoo to select the focal point, created the inverse. Next, I masked another layer to this, and desaturated the background.

I did this to isolate the subject from the background so that all the beautiful background colors and action wouldn't compete so strongly with it.

One nice element included in the Wacipi Grand Finale is the presentation of University of North Dakota graduates. Students earning a degree this year walk around the arena, led by one of the elders (whom I believe is also a UND alumni). People from the audience, who know and love them, come forward and shake their hands.

Part of the graduation ceremony is also a ceremony in which graduates give gifts to others, whom they know, who have provided love and support in their studies, helping to make it possible. Sometimes it's blankets or quilts that are given. This is to provide thanks and appreciation. It's an acknowledgement that an accomplishment tends not to just represent the indvidual's hard work, but is in part a product of the whole community around the student.

The regalia (clothing) worn at a Wacipi is very symbolic, usually representing animals. I know very little about this symbolism, which is quite intricate, but I have heard that the clothing, and dancing, often depict baby birds, and the dance is a form of prayer calling for nurturance in the form of rain on spring crops.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Most every year, UND sponsors a Wacipi, a Native American pow wow, and this years was the 40th annual Time-Out and Wacipi. It's a weeklong celebration of American Indian customs and culture. The entries into the Wacipi demonstrate traditional dance, drumming and regalia. These are some of the grand entries:

Brace yourself! I toook something like 200 photos so you're likely to see more!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Amish Wagon; Doug turning into The Bird Man (and fortunately, not of Alcatraz)

Just a couple more shots from our Saturday drive to Bergeson Gardens, in Fertile, MN, through Amish country. On the way, I also spotted this wagon--most likely a working wagon, and not just decorative lawn art!

And this sweet guy, whom all of you know as "Doug," is, before my very eyes, turning into a Bird Man! (I'll post photos later showing what he's done to our yard!)

It just seemed to me that he was working too hard, and needed to relax more. I remembered that one year, my mom thought the same thing about my dad, and told him that she wanted to learn macrame, but didn't understand it; would he read the directions, learn it and teach her? Being the sweet guy that he was, he did! And it seemed to be a relaxing thing for him.

So I tried it on Doug. I started talking birds (not those Evil Cedar Waxwings that would make him want to take up arms and defend the homeland), but sweet little songbirds and robin-types.

And he took to this in a big way!

Too big. Every day I come home, and there's another bird feeder. But then he went to war.

It seems that he's taken it as a personal affront that the squirrels are cleverly figuring out how to open the suet-feeder-thingy, that he's designated for ONE kind of bird. And he's definitely at war with the Grackles or Gackles or whatever those big Stephen King blackbird type things are that swoop about, thump there chests, and hog the birdbath. He thought he'd designate one area to be the blackbird area, and another for junkos and cardinals and finches and the "good" birds.

Now, whenever I can't find Doug, I just look out the window and he's out there with a stick chasing the grackles, or harassing the squirrels. And there are rules about whether to open our kitchen casement window because the right window scares away the grackles, but the left window scares away the sweetie-pies. But what is worse, and most disturbing, is that he doesn't want to let Bonnie out in the yard because she might bother the "good" birds. Ha! I say, Bonnie is the Queen, and she should get to go out, in the rare nice North Dakota weather whenever she feels like it! She trumps bird rights any day in my book!

Oh, and my sweet, kind, pacifist husband has even taken to uttering words like "BB gun." Anyone got any spare valium lying around?

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Work Day in Amish Country

On the drive to Fertile, MN, over the weekend, we came upon this field by worked by an Amish farmer.

His work days look like they're much harder than mine!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Road to Fertile, MN

Do you ever find yourself driving along to, oh, say, Fertile, MN, and even though there's nothing green on the landscape, you've just got to stop the car, jump out, and get the shot? (I have a very patient husband!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

This may be cute, but who'd name their baby "Sedum Nussbaumeranum Autumn Glow?"

And the name of this one (Echeveria Powder Blue) makes me thing of "the powder room."

And since I'm still posting plant photos, I thought this would be a good time to give all of you words of advice:

1. Keep a close watch on scilla in your garden.

and 2. ALWAYS listen to Pat's advice! She warned me a year or so ago that scilla could be invasive, and I thought "nah! Not in North Dakota! What's 2 or 3 or 6 little plants?" But now it's everywhere! I foresee many an hour of digging the pretty little plants, and their pod like root structures, from my garden in the weeks ahead :(.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Future Roommates: Echeveria Western Blue and Aeonium Purple Scrolls

One sounds like a sad song of the Old West (Echeveria Western Blue)

and the other sounds like an antiquity out of an Indian Jones movie: Aeonium Purple Scrolls . . .

. . . but soon they will be sharing a container together, along with a few other roomies!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cacti, Succulents, and the International Peace Garden

A few more of the little babies I acquired at Gardening Saturday:

The succulent above is called "Crassula-Marnieriana"

And this one is an "Aeonium". I don't know what it's other , more specific name, is, but just that it's in the broader category of "Aemonium".

Yesterday, I opened the newspaper, and saw a photo of the vendor from whom I bought all these succulents! Apparently, he's amassed what is believed to be largest collection of cacti in North America. This is in Minot, ND. ND!--definately not known for it's desserts or tropical weather! He's got over 5,200 different cacti and completely fills a 4,000 square foot greenhouse.

He's dontated his collection to the International Peace Garden, which straddles the border between North Dakota and Canada. You actually have to have your passport to re-enter the US after you've visited this garden, 1/2 of which is in ND, have of which is in Canada. Apparently, it's going to take a lot of semis to move some of these bad boys, some of which weigh 500 to 700 pounds and are 12 feet high, to Minot, this summer. The Peace Garden build a special conservatory for the collection, and will add on to the building in the future to accommodate more of the collection.

The cactus collector, Don Vitko, gave out cards with this website listed and you can check out care information for succulents, or order plants from them:

I have 6 more succulents to show you over the next week or so.