A few weekends ago I was out walking the city streets trying to find something interesting to photograph. A typical day for me really. After hours of basically finding nothing I was prepared to wrap it up and call it a day. Fortunately my eagle-eyed wifey Terri spotted a small group gathered along the Phenix City side of the river. As we moved closer to the small crowd I realized that there was a demonstration taking place. To my great surprise it was actually a group of Native Americans teaching the locals about the history of the city. Always curious about learning new things I stood conflicted as to whether I should take pictures or just listen to the wisdom they spoke? They taught us about their history, culture, clothes, hunting & survival techniques, their names, tribes, and their hardships. They also allowed the locals to participate in a traditional dance. Just my luck to find this wonderful event at sunset!
The sun was setting rapidly so I decided I should grab a few shots before they closed everything down. Before my disappointment could set in for wasting the day wondering around when I could have been at this demonstration, one of the gentlemen speaking stopped me. His name is Little Big Mountain. He told me not to worry. Although they had been there for a few days they would be there again early the next day for a few hours. He also explained to me that he’d be wearing his tribal face paint so I could get an even better shot of him. I happily thanked him and his lovely wife Laura. I knew at that point that I would absolutely be returning with my kids so that they could learn about our history.
These photos represent the few shots I captured on the first evening.
(Please click the images for a larger view)
The next morning my family and I returned bright and early for the festivities. This time my children were able to witness the event in it’s entirety. They were able to look around, ask questions and take pictures. First we listened as they taught more about weapons, clothing and hunting. Afterwards we had a very long, serious discussion with both Laura and Little about the connection of pain shared between African Americans and American Indians. Next, we moved on to the next group to learn about the different war cries. We sat and enjoyed stories of past battles as well as the importance of family and nature. We were once again treated to several tribal dances then introduced to everyone. Before ending the event everyone in attendance was asked to join in a beautiful prayer. Once again, amidst all the wonderful wisdom being shared I tried to remember to actually take out my camera and capture some of these moments! I mingled briefly then took a few shots.
All in all it was a great experience. My family and I really enjoyed ourselves. We all agreed that when they return next year we hope that the city will provide them with more funding and a larger area to demonstrate because, we believe it is of the upmost importance that everyone learn what they are teaching. It cannot be ignored nor relegated to such a small area. They need to be seen and heard! Their history is OUR history!
If you’d like to learn more about their educational programs, make a financial contribution, or bring them to your city please visit their website at: http://www.gonativenow.com I highly encourage everyone to check them out as soon as possible!
The following photos were taken at various times of the day under a variety of crazy weather conditions. Everything from the bright noon sun, to the cloudy possibility of rain, then to the setting of the sun.