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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thanks, Native Americans...

If you're like me, you are probably exhausted by the grievances each individual niche holds in our American potpurri (face it, no one tries to melt anymore). African-Americans want a national apology for slavery, hard-core vegans want you to apologize for eating meat, and Bush-haters want him to apologize for hurting the country. Lots of wounded feelings, all around.

Right when I want to say, "Get over it" I realize I suffer my own grievances, carrying torches for slights which would be much better extinguished. And then I read an article like this from American Public Media on how Native Americans celebrate the Fourth of July, and I think, "Wow, how classy and enlightened."

So it makes sense that, growing up, the Fourth of July would be a dark day
for Hudson, a sad tribute to the country that tried and tried again to
exterminate its native people and their culture. But it wasn't -- for Hudson,
the Fourth meant "summertime, family, fireworks. You can't wait for the
fireworks. As a kid you look forward to that celebration."

Hudson was not alone. Across the Fort Berthold Reservation-- what was
left of it-- people partied on the Fourth of July. Sno Cones and barbecues,
weaved together with older, indigenous traditions like powwows that would last
deep into the night.

At the center of the festivities was the drum. "The beat of the drum
means everything in the powwow," Hudson says. "It signifies the heart beat of a
people. There are different types of dances, ceremonies, give-aways,

People heal, and difference is celebrated. What a novel idea. We can all learn from this.

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