The Saddest Pride

Today, I went with V, L and E to Pinson Mounds State Park for their annual Archeofest. Pinson Mounds is a Native American burial ground site, so the ‘Fest was basically dedicated to Native American culture. Having never been to a Native American Culture Festival, I did not quite know what to expect. In all honesty, it was really just a flea market featuring Native American ware sold by Vietnam-vet-motorcycle-gang-ponytailed white guys (not that I have anything against Vietnam-vet-motorcycle-gang-ponytailed white guys, it’s just that they’re not Native American).

In the back corner of the festival, they did have certain times where you could go and watch Native American singing, dancing or flute playing. Most of those people were Native American or at least part Native American. It was in this corner that I witnessed the saddest pride I have ever seen.

V, L, E and I went over there to watch a middle-age Native American woman sing and introduce the dances of her nieces. It was very clear in her descriptions of the songs and dances that she had a deep pride for her culture and that she was glad she could pass it on to the next generation. It was sad because it was set up and displayed like a circus side show. At a festival dedicate to Native Ameircan culture, the only true Native Americans doing Native American stuff were stuck in the back corner with a horrible sound system and an impossible task of getting people to invest in their culture. And the white people who were there just to make money were put front and center. Seems like that has been their entire modern history.
I truly enjoyed the displays of culture that we watched but left with a deep sense of sadness for these people and their culture.

It seems we are effectively destroying the only indigienous culture we have here in America and that is really sad to see in a country founded on both freedom and expression.


One response to this post.

  1. You should send this to PMSP as an evaluation of their program. Seriously.


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