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Old 08-15-2005, 05:28 PM   #22
1dancing white wolf
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Highland Springs, Va, USA
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To JimGreyOwl

JimGreyOwl,
I am with the VEVITA color guard (my husband is the Eagle Staff bearer). I am so sorry that you were mistreated by the MCI staff when you tried to come down and meet Michael. He is an outstanding young man who was overwhelmed by the response he recieved from the NDN community. Many people came over to shake his hand and thank him for his sacrifice, and he was given many small gifts that meant so much to him. I think what really impressed him the most was that he is not an Indian, but we treated him with respect and dignity, as we do all veterans. He told us before he left that the experience was very postive and healing for him, and that he would always remember how wonderful we all were. Micheal is still on active duty pending discharge at this time, so he will be going home to Washington state soon.
On the subject of the MCI center security-I was very disappointed with some of the staff. I was rather rudely asked to show my armband while in regalia several times as I went back to the dressing room to use the facilities. On Sunday, I was in street clothes (kahkis and a VEVITA t-shirt) assisting Mrs. West, who was taking photos of grand entry and had to inform an MCI security staff member who Mrs. West was when he was rude with us for "blocking a news photographer". Apparently, these people were not informed who VIPs were. On the flip side-when we entered the building from the street first thing in the morning, the security guards at the entrance were required to search our cases, but refrained from handling our regalia, and only asked us to open the cases and then sent us on our way. One guard in particular was very nice about not touching anything, once I explained about my husbands Eagle feather box. We had volunteers in our dressing rooms to help with whatever needed helping with, and these folks were pleasant and polite. One lady even helped me find a restaurant in Chinatown, giving me directions (and the food was excellent).
I think that these people are more accustomed to the crowds at concerts and sporting events and do not understand the social situation that is the core of any pow wow.
And I was also amazed at how rude some of the photographers were to us, shoving cameras right in our faces while were conversing outside the dance arena. Granted, we all had to sign a waiver for photographs, but I still felt that a modicum of common courtesy could have been maintained. Senator Campbell was constantly mobbed by photographers, as was Mr. West. These gentlemen are elders, and it would have been nice to see the press give them a little space so they could relax and enjoy the pow wow.
The vendor area was absolute chaos, and anyone in regalia was subject to cameras popping off, and people touching them without asking. Having done several programs at the NMAI over the last several months, I can tell you that this is the norm for DC. When I was at the museum on Memorial Day, I had to have a security escort take me inside when I was surrounded by tourists wanting pictures. Most of these people thought that it was my job to pose for photos, and many of them did not speak English.
Overall, I can say that I would not have missed this for the world, and that I have some really great memories to share of this weekend.
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