The work of Naomi Bebo worn by her 2 year old daughter
This year, I noticed that I could not feel that same energy. I knew that it was happening, right here in Albuquerque. But without my shop in action, I saw that my thread of connection to The People, was absent. My mom and I ventured out to the Pit, as respectful and ignorant spectators. It is a role I am learning to accept, even as it can feel wholly uncomfortable.
As we approached the Pit, the traffic increased, and parking lots packed with cars had their "LOT FULL" signs standing. Crowds of people on foot, were waiting for the light at corners, or crossing. Some were dressed in full regalia. As I stood beside them, I instantly felt excited and connected. Their intricate seed bead covered garments, medallions, and hair decorations spoke to me.
Women of Service representing the
US military stand for the Buckskin Dance
I was happy, even as we had to wait in line for entrance (as the Pit was full to capacity). Families sat on the grass playing with children. Young and elders milled about in absolutely astonishing regalia. The long line we were on was comprised of patient, calm people. We entered into a very crowded arena, just in time to stand for the Buckskin Dance of Elders; a dance by women over 55 years old to honor mothers and grandmothers. Perfect and meaningful for my mother and me. We only had a short time to spend. We strolled through the market and saw absolutely fabulous beadwork. But I must say, the most stunning was the beadwork worn by the dancers. I felt a tremendous sense of reward that I am in some way connected to such amazing art and rich culture. I have a renewed sense of purpose in Poppyfield Bead Company.
Selling seed beads in New Mexico these past 2 years I've had an opportunity and need to interact with Native bead artists. At the same time, I know that I know relatively nothing about these people surrounding me. My ignorance is right up in my face and I feel an imperative to educate myself. I have started this exciting and humbling journey through books, Native narratives, museums, and Native radio shows. I will keep striving to seek, listen, and learn. I am not a Wannabe (I have my own culture - and we actually have tribes too.) I am a Wannaknow. That is my second tribe.