On Sunday Bill and Donna joined me to visit Berryville where Native Americans were holding their Harvest Gathering. The event had been on since Friday and we were arriving after noon, meaning that there weren't too many folks around. I had a look in the main hall where vendors and displays were showing off carved gourds and selling tools and decorations for people to have a go themselves.
The website is here.
I walked around the vendors outside before going to the arena but I wasn't drawn to anything in particular. But I did spot Lewis Campbell walking through and quickly pulled out my camera.
I reluctantly left my feathered friend and walked over to the arena where I could hear a voice addressing the crowds. The dancing was about to begin.
After a few dances, an elderly Master of the Ceremony started talking about their history and then about his war experiences. One topic led to another and I noticed that after about 30 minutes people were drifting away. He continued talking and I sat, resolute, not wanting to appear rude by leaving. Looking at the bleachers I saw a few others also sitting firmly on their seats and patiently waiting for the next dance, but still he continued with his reminiscences. After a good 45 minutes, another elder spoke on a different microphone to announce 2 ladies who walked up to our speaker with a couple of taco laden plates, and he was gently led away to have some lunch. What a tender action, and done so graciously so that he didn't feel embarrassed at having spoken for so long. We can certainly learn from these people. And as he walked away to enjoy a well earned meal the dancers returned to the arena for the final turn on the grass, inviting everyone to join and copy their movements in a respectful manner if they wished.
I really enjoy these events, and each time I've come away, feeling very respectful of these people. They show no grudges or violence towards those who stole their land, and have always behaved in a manner that I feel we should learn from. Their children and elderly are cherished, as are their traditions and beliefs, and once again as I walked away to head home, I left feeling peaceful, yet with a twinge of regret that I didn't live in a culture as well behaved as theirs.