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  • Pow Wow Sadness in Phoenix, AZ.

    Am posting this because I'm most disturbed about these happenings at a lovely social pow wow that was in the PHX Metropolitan area on April 28, 2007.

    Harlan Barehand organized a very nice event for his Family's reunion, at the St. John's school at Gila Crossing. It included gourd dancing, a social powwow, head staff and host drums. It was held in the gymnasium, which was somewhat warm that evening and there was a chicken scratch dance happening outside. The pow wow started with a Grand Entry and about 25 dancers or so. There was a large audience of spectators and vendors.
    At approximately 9:00pm, Mr. Barehand was advised that due to gang violence among some of the youth outside at the chicken scratch, the police had been called and an ambulance had come to assist one of the victims. Harlan asked for all the pow wow attendees to come to the arena floor where he explained the situation and stated that someone said there could be retaliation with guns, so everyone was being asked to proceed to their cars and leave immediately. Then Mario Tenequer offered a nice blessing for everyone to return home safely and to keep celebrating the spirit of brotherhood and unity that had started at the powwow.
    My friend and I went back to our chairs to get our stuff and leave and in the 3 minutes that it took to bow our heads and pray, someone walked by and stole my friends purse right off her chair!!
    I just wanted to say in a public forum that I've never experienced such dis-respect for a traditional Native American gathering of people in my entire life. Because of both the gang violence and the theft. I've been going to pow wows for a long time in the Phoenix Metro area and the surrounding reservations and I can't even begin to express how disappointed I am in the events of Saturday evening.
    Was anyone else there or does anyone have any comments about this event?

  • #2
    That makes me sad, too. I wasn't at the event, but I grew up in Phoenix. I remember when even the gang members used to have some measure of respect for cultural and/or religious gatherings and institutions. I attended a church in the inner city, and I remember relatives of gang members telling us that they never did grafitti on churches, for example, because of them being God's house. There used to be more restraint (if you can call it that) among gang members. Now, they'll even shoot pregnant women in retaliation. I live near Milwaukee, and that just happened last night in a drive-by. A few weeks back a beautiful Native teenager, also pregnant, was shot and killed in a gang-related retaliation.

    I guess if there is a bright side to your story it is that, apparently, no one was seriously hurt. The downside is that we have to worry about being moving targets and opporutnities for theft by making our powwows and gatherings open to the publc.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by skybird5 View Post
      Am posting this because I'm most disturbed about these happenings at a lovely social pow wow that was in the PHX Metropolitan area on April 28, 2007.

      Harlan Barehand organized a very nice event for his Family's reunion, at the St. John's school at Gila Crossing. It included gourd dancing, a social powwow, head staff and host drums. It was held in the gymnasium, which was somewhat warm that evening and there was a chicken scratch dance happening outside. The pow wow started with a Grand Entry and about 25 dancers or so. There was a large audience of spectators and vendors.
      At approximately 9:00pm, Mr. Barehand was advised that due to gang violence among some of the youth outside at the chicken scratch, the police had been called and an ambulance had come to assist one of the victims. Harlan asked for all the pow wow attendees to come to the arena floor where he explained the situation and stated that someone said there could be retaliation with guns, so everyone was being asked to proceed to their cars and leave immediately. Then Mario Tenequer offered a nice blessing for everyone to return home safely and to keep celebrating the spirit of brotherhood and unity that had started at the powwow.
      My friend and I went back to our chairs to get our stuff and leave and in the 3 minutes that it took to bow our heads and pray, someone walked by and stole my friends purse right off her chair!!
      I just wanted to say in a public forum that I've never experienced such dis-respect for a traditional Native American gathering of people in my entire life. Because of both the gang violence and the theft. I've been going to pow wows for a long time in the Phoenix Metro area and the surrounding reservations and I can't even begin to express how disappointed I am in the events of Saturday evening.
      Was anyone else there or does anyone have any comments about this event?
      yeah, we were at this event as well. I feel for Mr. Barehand and his efforts to bring such an event to the area. Everything started off pretty good...lots of dancing and singing...until that news was announced. I'm sorry to hear about the theft that occurred. We just immediately packed up and left the area. Earlier, on our way to the powwow, we stopped at a store and it was covered with graffitti...and jokingly, we said, Uh-OH, this doesn't look good..not knowing something like that would happen... It just pretty much put a bad reputation on that community due to others stupidity.... I guess no more powwows in that community....

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      • #4
        We go and we learn. Most of the time it is good and positive but other times we just shake our heads and say: "Things happen for a reason". Many years ago we attended the Jim Thorpe Pow wow in Los Angeles, Ca. The Thorpe family was not to blame but the organizers or one of the organizers got away with all the money. Head staff came from all directions to make the pow wow a success. It was a success however, some greedy Indian got away with everything. Dancers came from all directions. All the winners got were Jim Thorpe medals. Later, I saw a lot of the medals lying on the ground. Yes, s___ happens but we are Indians and we will go to the next pow wow full of hope that it will be a success and everyone will have a good time and we will see old friends and make new ones. When were we ever promised that everything would be sunshine and roses?

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        • #5
          really? the winners tossed their medals? Thats rugged.
          The only time its too late to start dancing is when you're dead.

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          • #6
            Man a long time ago I heard of powwows being held secretly becuase they were outlawed around this area anyway. They were outlawed with no good reason. If this stuff keeps happenning what do you think will happen to powwows. Lets not give them a reason. I blame the parents

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            • #7
              The main culprit has been found and shown the error of his ways.

              I believe he fell "up" a flight or two of stairs, as well as down.
              Big Pauly, Anishinaabe Ogitchidaa Aanikoominodewiwin

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