The other day a man asked me what kind of music I liked…I replied Ponca, Kiowa, all the southern tribes…heck I love dancing as well; round dances, gourd dances, Oklahoma two step, war dances and even an occasional Crow hop! I spent many years on the Powwow circuit learning the old songs and the old ways…. and I learned about the “Give Away”.
At one of my first Powwows I saw an young man and his wife, they bought a song from the drum, danced with their baby in their arms. At the end of the dance they formed a line and began calling the names of people in the audience, they began pulling presents out of the back of an old truck; a toaster oven, a TV, pots and pans, quilts, blankets, all grades of things from their household…when they were done the young man walked over to the Drum and said “Boys, this old truck ain’t much to look at, but she sure runs good, I hope you can find a use for it” and with that he tossed the keys to the truck on the drum and walked away. I was dumbfounded and turned to a friend and asked him to explain, which he did…the young couple had tried and tried to have a child, they had not been able to conceive. They prayed for a child and the Creator gave them one…the Give Away was their way of taking the blessing of their child’s birth and sharing the Honor they had been given with the people they loved.
At Turtle Island I like to teach and to lead by example, I want our campers to stop, think, analyze my (our) actions…I want campers to see that there is more merit to sharing an honor than there is to pinning an award to our swollen chest and strutting about. I want them to see life lived deliberately.
I took a chunk of metal, cut ,forged, shaped, hardened, hafted and honed it. I carried it on my side every day for a year, wore it everywhere. I cut feed sacks open, skinned squirrels, peeled apples, plucked splinters, made fuzz sticks, used it every time I could and it served me well. Now I am giving it away so that someone out there, someone I do not know, will get to come to our camp and you have in front of you an opportunity to help.