For my new friend, The Localmalcontent!
To the tribe, the Pow Wow is the biggest event of the year. Everyone will make some effort to attend although,normally the men and the younger folk are the most likely to travel. This is a chance to visit family and most likely is where a young person will meet their spouse. Each year a different village will play host as the tribe gathers for a time of fun, competition, food, and visiting.
In the Ye'kwana culture each visitor is received by the entire village. As the canoe loads arrive at the port, a call will go forth so that everyone in the host village will line up to receive the new arrivals with a hand shake of greeting.
The host villagers will take responsibility for carrying all the luggage of the visitors to their place of stay, which is what these two guys in the picture below are doing. If you arrive at a village and no one shows up to help with your luggage, you should probably continue on your way and not stop at that village!
It is a lot of work to host the tribe for a pow wow in the jungle, no hotels, no stores, no restaurants. All the food and housing must be provided by the host village and it takes months to prepare and lay aside all that is needed. Extra housing must be built as well. As the following picture reveals, it gets tight!
The most common aspect of the gathering among the Ye'kwana is the competition. Soccer has become the way of promoting your village athletic prowess. Soccer was easily adopted by most South American tribes since their ancestors all took part in ball games such as the Aztec, Mayan and Incas played. Each village also sends a "queen" to represent the tribe. Some wear traditional clothing and others prefer western wear. The choice is up to the village. The Queen below happens to be Pastor Victor's daughter.
Recently, volleyball has also been added to the tournament which allows even the girls to participate. These teams are coached and practiced for months in advance. Sometimes they are even housed separately and fed apart, so as to totally concentrate on being prepared to win.
In the evenings, the tribe will gather after the evening meal and play traditional games.
Everyone is included, even the children. ( You can see my WHITE face below my daughter who has perched for a better view.)
Aside from the soccer and volleyball, there are also competitions in foot races, canoing, archery and target shooting with blow guns!
The girls spend a lot of time in painting each other up and wearing their beads to show their beauty and wealth. Above, Jewel gets help from a friend, below, the finished product. Leg paint is also important as it is viewed as a way to ward off the snakes!
The main event of every powwow is the food! In a culture where so much time and effort goes into gardening and hunting, food is always appreciated. Can you imagine the work that goes into preparing meals for 2000 people , 3 times a day!
Cooking over fire.
Just the amount of water that has to be carried up from the river for each meals is amazing!
No one is exempt. Even Yekwanaman and Jungle Mom pitch in with the food preparation.
Different families take turn providing refreshments for all the athletes.
Jewel is serving brownies!
Music is important and their are many traditional 'dances' and marches. Some are merely forms of greeting other villages as shown here.
Each village will bring their own drums and bamboo horns. Our river is named "Bamboo River" and our village, "Chajuraña" translates as "Bambooville" as we have the BEST bamboo horns!!!
Oh Yeah!!! It's important!!!
It is important that one understands the culture and realizes that all indian traditions are not necessarily pagan or evil. Often times, the outsider will not understand this and condemn something that is only cultural. To the outsider, may of our traditions seem just as strange!
When an activity is truly pagan or satanic, the believing Christian indian will know to abstain from the activity. The indian believer is indwelled by the same Holy Spirit as any other Christian. We have seen this over and over. They will come to the understanding of right and wrong in regards to their faith and practice. This will then be a proof of their salvation as it is worked out in their lives that all may see the difference. The proof is in their practical christian living. ( Have you ever wondered what the indian believer would think about Easter eggs, and christmas trees, or placing flowers on graves? Not to mention Halloween!) Judge not lest ye be judged.
The church in our village always took the opportunity to preach and share the gospel with the other villages at the yearly pow wows.