Monday, August 6, 2007

Native American Festival

Thanks to my friend, Trish, we found out about the Native American Festival at the Jefferson Patterson Park in Calvert County this weekend. So we made a deal with our children to work diligently on Friday and Saturday morning then we scooted on over to the Festival. We had a great time! The above picture shows some of the seashell necklaces being sold by vendors. There were a bunch of vendors selling everything including drums and flutes, jewelry, clay pottery, indian dolls, etc. I was surprised to see only one rug and no native american quilts. One of the first things my children did was archery and atlatl. What is atlatl? It is a method of hunting and fishing whereby you insert your arrow into an atlatl so that you gain momentum when throwing your arrow. The best website I could find is here. This site has pictures that explain it best. It looked easy to throw the atlatl, but was much harder to actually do! The above pictures shows an atlatl with bows. I know, not a good picture!
I enjoyed going into the huts that were made the past few months to be part of a permanent display. It was surpisingly cooler inside. Saturday was really hot and humid, in the 90s. But there was a slight breeze coming off the Patuxent River that kept me comfy. I usually suffer terribly in the heat, but I have to admit I didn't suffer on Saturday. Thank you, Lord!
This is the little firepit inside the above hut. It reminds me of what an indian said in some western movie I watched, "Only white man make huge fire, sit far. Red man build little fire, sit close." I really felt for the volunteers who had to work with fire on Saturday. It was too hot for that.
I'm not sure if you can tell what this is, but it is a platform bed covered with furs. I was surprised to see this since I don't think I've ever seen one in western movies. Then I remembered what a missionary friend of mine who ministers on a reservation in Arizona said about the rats, mice and scorpions!
My Dad made one of these hide stretchers when I was a child. Dad and my brothers belonged to the local Y-Indian Guides. It was a group like the boy scouts that taught Dads and their sons how to live off the land and hunt, fish, etc. My brothers (and uncle and cousins) enjoyed it a lot. I googled Y-Indian Guides to see if they were still in existence. They are, but because they were offensive to Native Americans, they've been revised and no longer resemble the original Y-Indian Guides. What a shame.
There is something in me that really enjoys all the homemade things from natural elements. I would like to try making this bark basket.
I really felt for this volunteer who was making the canoe. He would put a bunch of hot coals on the log, then scrape the ashes out with oyster shells.

I was fascinated by their garden. Instead of rows, the corn was planted 3-4 stalks together with a little well built up around them. The garden had herbs, squashes, gourds, etc. I was suprised it did so well in our local drought which has been classified as severe.

This woman is playing the double chambered flute. It was beautiful. Very soothing. Because of their recent history of the past 150 years, it is also very haunting.

We also saw a pottery making, hide tanning, projectile point (arrowhead) making, basketry, as well as informative displays showing what the river looked like in 1600s and what it looks like now in its polluted state.

I came home with feeling very thoughtful. It is not a good feeling to know that my ancestors came and took this land away from the original owners, and then abused that land with over-harvesting, over-fishing, over-hunting, etc. My generation has only carried on this tradition. It's called conspicuous consumption.

I would like to have come back on Sunday to see the re-enactment of John Smith arriving in his shallop. Maybe next year!

I hope this gives you an idea of what we saw. Plan to go with us again next year. Many blessings ~ Kathie

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