My dear sister Shelby,
I'm glad you had a wonderful experience at your first powwow. I well remember a few years back when I started going to native gatherings. It was an awesome, no mesmerizing experience. I felt so at home and so a part of the native family. For me, it has certainly been "the call of the drums." But, as I went to gatherings, I also began to open my eyes to the social problems many native peoples have had historically as well as today.
I took special note that native peoples, though in many respects are oppressed, they have managed to hold onto their ceremonials--a testament to their survival and existence. I realized that this aspect of native culture was at least an indication that our native ancestors did well in preserving the culture for the generations to come. The powwows certainly are'nt the only and most perfect means of learning about native cultures, but, it is a good start. I wish you well as you continue to search your native background. IvySpring
P.S Although I also don't have any papers or cards to acertain my native heritage,(nor have I ever tried to obtain any) I will still continue to honor those elders of my past of whom I owe my native ancestry--this despite the fact that there are many painful historical details as well.