This weekend I was invited to attend a Pow-Wow in a nearby town. My friend is of Native American descent and I was so pleased to be invited to share a corner of his world.
It took me a few moments to get past the feathers and fringes, and begin seeing the people. It was all so beautiful! A man in the center of the circle spoke gently throughout the day, introducing different singers and telling a little about the dance going on. During intertribal dances us white folks were invited to dance, too! As the afternoon passed I found myself sinking into the spirit of the gathering. All was gentle, serene, inclusive. These were warriors, fully expressing their humanity in a way that few groups do. No wonder my friend is always so calm.
Afterwards it was hours before I wanted to hear the radio or otherwise let the world in. Finally, though, I turned on NPR and I heard a couple of stories that got me thinking. First was the terrible story coming out of Syria, and the chemical “testing” that was carried out on citizens. Now, of course, the US is threatening to “punish” their government. This was followed by a story about water in a different Arab country whose name I didn’t catch. Here, a man was explaining that the wells are all running dry in his country. It is thought that within 10 years the country will have no more water. My first thought, I’m ashamed to say, was “well, keep your straw out of Lake Michigan!” Not very inclusive of me.
But then I thought of how, with global warming, water is already rising. Salt water is contaminating well water in low coastal areas, and will eventually flood it entirely. What if we could desalinate ocean water and make it potable? GE has already invested in this technology. It is energy intensive, but happily there is plenty of wind and sun along coasts, so obtaining clean renewable energy should be no great obstacle. Think of it~ the very water that threatens to swamp many highly populated areas could actually be captured and piped to people who are in desperate need of it. If they did that along the California coast, wouldn’t LA be able to leave the Colorado River alone? Also, I’ve read that scientists are concerned that all the melting glaciers will dilute the sea water, causing death to creatures that depend on certain levels of salinity. Seems to me this would address this issue, as well.
Finally, this brings me back around to my original impression. It is hard to describe that feeling at the Pow-Wow. I was so impressed by these people, who are finding ways to carry on their culture within the context of what IS. Far from carrying resentment and hatred for the culture that came in and swamped them, they move forward, embracing others with acceptance. It was a deeply moving, radiant experience. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all people could learn to do this? If we can put aside fear and hate, think how we can use technology to help each other… and maybe, take care of our precious planet in the bargain.
That would be something to dance about.