Tuesday, February 23, 2010

HUM 221: Gathering of Nations (including Cherokee nation)

As we move into the second half of the semester, we'll begin by looking at the website for a big national pow wow in Albuquerque. It's called the Gathering of Nations, and it is truly that, a gathering of dancers from the 500-plus Indians tribes or nations in North America. It will also serve as a transition to our study of the Cherokee and other Indian nations of the Southeast. Most of them were forced to relocate to Oklahoma, but their traditional homes were in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

We'll start by reading the Gathering of Nations' pages on What to Expect - PowWow Fan Tips including this:
  • Pow wows are celebrations, social gatherings and friendly dance competitions. But, as with the sacred thread that runs through all of life, there are sacred traditions to be found in this coming together of people.

  • There is a circle in most dances, representing the circle of unity, the cycle of life. Dancers often follow the clockwise pattern of the sun.

We'll follow the link at midpage to the "Learn About Powwow Dancers Section" that describes the most common dance competitions.

We'll also read an essay called "Why We Dance" by MariJo Moore. She sums up:
Why we dance: To dance is to pray, to pray is to heal, to heal is to give, to give is to live, to live is to dance.
MariJo Moore is a poet from Asheville, N.C., and a member of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation ... the next group of people we'll study ... so her essay also serves as a transition to the Cherokee.

So does a story simply called "Amazing Grace" by Joe Liles. You'll see why. But before you follow the link, a little background. The Cherokee - written "Tsa-la-gi" in the Cherokee syllabary, or alphabet - live both in their traditional home in North Carolina and Oklahoma where they were forced to relocate on the Trail of Tears. Liles visited the Oklahoma nation.

For Friday, read that two-page section in our textbook on the Indian nations of the Southeast.

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