Today, I got to experience one of the rare events you get to see in life, the 2011 Gathering of Nations help at the UNM Pit in Albuquerque. The gathering is one of those occasions where you may capture the regality and pride of the Native American people in a photograph. As most of their dance garb is traditional and ceremonial, photography at the tribal dances and in the pueblos can be very rare. The gathering is a celebration of tribal customs and traditions in a more relaxed, festive and social atmosphere. Native for “letting it all hang out”, so to speak. Tribal representatives come from all over the country to celebrate their heritage and pride. I spoke to one Native lady from Cherokee, North Carolina, quite a coincidence seeing as I have lived a few years in East Tennessee, (that’s just across the border, or state line, if you like). About 1700 miles or 2700 kilometers for a pretty big event. Ceremonial garb, a Native beauty contest…, honoring the Native warriors still serving in the Armed Forces, it’s a pretty big deal, and truly impressive to see.
In other news, maybe you were part of the throng witnessing the fairy tale wedding celebrated by our cousins across the pond…, another magical event. Others of us were fascinated of the news release concerning Superman renouncing his American citizenship. Yes, you heard it right, Superman struggling with his American identity after criticism from his recent stand of solidarity with the protestors in Tehran. Sorry, Kal-El, sometimes doing good deeds, or doing anything at all will open you up to criticism, Monday morning quarterbacking, and even outright hostility. Figured the man of steel would have that figured out, he’s only been here since 1938, right?
Just in case you’ve forgotten, we’ve still got your back big guy. Here are the Cliff Notes.
Truth: Never something you look for from politicians seeking reelection, or those willing to manipulate you for your special talents.
Justice: A tough one. My own disillusionment with the American justice system came in the aftermath of the brutal murder of James Byrd, Jr. in Texas in the mid-90s. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, a little trip to Wikipedia should clear things up for you. I was taking a Law and Society class with a liberal defense attorney for an instructor, (yes, I know… liberal defense attorney, it’s an oxymoron, but bear with me please…). Even for someone with liberal political tendencies, he was still a pretty good guy, and an even better instructor. We were having an open debate on the validity of Hate Crime legislation. Should one group of citizens be placed in a special category, because of their race, creed, color, religious or sexual preference? To the best of my limited knowledge, Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason. Crime is crime, and punishment should be meted out according to the crime, not because of any status of the victim. What those two redneck idiots did on that Texas road was nothing short of monstrous and was not a crime against African-Americans… It was a crime against humanity. In other words, it was a crime against the human race… It was barbaric. So, people tend to jump on the emotional flood of the moment, and decide that if it can be proven it was a “Hate” crime, (have you ever heard of a criminal comitting a crime because of love? Okay, John Hinkley Jr. doesn’t count.). We can add additional time to the crime. Well, that’s a pretty novel concept. Maybe next time we can see how much money the victim’s family has and use that for determining what kind of restitution to society the offender should pay. So, if you’re wondering how I feel on that particular item, you needn’t wonder any more.
The American Way: Yeah, we know it’s not perfect, but it’s what we got. We do what we can with what we have and hope we’re doing the right thing.
The Navajo have the legend of the skinwalker, a monster who conceals its true nature behind a human mask. Well, Superman.., you taught us that heroes can also conceal their true identities behind a human mask as well. In case you need reminding, all the criticism in the world don’t amount to anything compared to the gleam of appreciation in someone’s eye who is truly grateful for anything you might have done to help, in any way you can. Those heroes, they’re identities aren’t really all that secret. We call them soldier, policeman (or woman), firefighter, Mom, Dad, grandma, grandpa and neighbor…
So, when you find your way through the current disillusionment, we’ll be right here, standing up for what we believe in. It’s the least we can do, and it’s what you taught us.
Until then, if the naysayers have got you down, Congratulations Clark, you’re more human than we thought…
Enjoy the pictures…