Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cherokee Nation Dancers

I wanted to share another beautiful dance with you that I recorded at the Southeast Tribes Festival in Cherokee, North Carolina this past weekend.

Cherokee Festival

I used to avoid the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina.  Too commercial, not much real culture on display.
The Southeast Tribal Festival in Cherokee, NC

However, I drove to the reservation on Saturday for the multi-nation Tribal Festival and was pleasantly surprised. I had a blast. If you avoid the ticky-tacky souvenir shops, it was like stepping into a different country for a few hours: the colorful traditional clothing, the dancing and hypnotic chanting, the storytelling and the first Indian tacos I'd had in 15 years. Fry bread is greasy, but oh so delicious. It's something you eat maybe twice a year.

Here's a short video of one dance. The chanting is very hypnotic and peaceful.

The most unusual part of the festival was the stick ball game. It's like a cross between lacrosse, soccer and American football. It's played with small lacross-like sticks and a tiny ball that appeared to be the size of a walnut. It requires keen eyesight.

Here are a few pictures from Saturday's festival in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Blowgun Competition

Youngsters carry on the traditional dancing.

Choctaw Nation Dancers

Colorful clothing

Storytelling with a flute as a prop.

Stick Ball is a contact sport!

It's played barefoot.
The ball is just in front of the player with the blue shorts, above his wooden racket.

A Dangerous Path?

As we reflect this month on the 9/11 attacks, it's worth thinking about where we are headed as a nation since 9/11. Fear has been a driving force in our policies aimed at rooting out terrorists and terror plots.

Slowly, but steadily, it is leading to less and less freedom for all of us.

Since 9/11 literally dozens and dozens of new government-financed programs have sprouted up -- with nearly a million employees. We have no idea how much money is being spent (billions no doubt), how much duplication is involved and most importantly, how effective these new programs are in terms of keeping us safe.

We appear to be spending our way into bankruptcy.  It reminds me of what was said after the fall of the Soviet Union -- something along the lines of:  'we spent them into bankruptcy'. Is this al-Qaeda's end-game?

Dana Priest and William Arkin have written a book, Top Secret America, that is a well-researched piece of investigative journalism. A must-read for those of us concerned about our country becoming something we no longer recognize -- all in the name of national security.