Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Monday, June 28, 2010

Donna and In Lon Shka, June 26-28

In making plans to visit Donna, I was honored to be invited to attend the Osage ceremony of In Lon Shka in her town of Pawhuska, OK.   Donna is a talented artist and seamstress who researches, creates and teaches how to make Native American regalia for a varienty of tribes.  Although not Osage herself, she has been accepted as a member of one of the Osage families.  Here is Donna in her Seminole regalia, pictured with Jinx, my Osage host.

My time there was enlightening and humbling as I moved, with Donna's help, within their community and culture.  For example, I learned that being a guest was considered an honor to the host.  Also, gift giving is a significant part of this culture.  Gifts were offered with no expectation of getting something in return.  It seemed truly about the giving of gifts, not the familiar exchanging of gifts of western culture.

In addition to spending time at Donna's home, I got to spend time with her extended Osage family.  Jinx, the matriarch, is a strong woman who opens her home to her extended Osage family for the yearly In Lon Shka ... over twenty people this year.  Being there had the familiar chaos of my own family reunions, multiple generations catching up on news, laughing, being silly, loving.  The pride of being Osage as expressed by Jinx and her family was enlightening as they shared some of their heritage with me in both words and action.

In Lon Shka itself was wonderful.  The regalia of the 400+ dancers was beautiful.  Each song's melding of sounds -- drum, bells, and voices -- will stay with me for a long time.   The ins and outs of the ceremony, the difference of dance between the men and women, the process of acceptance of men into the circle, and the differing roles of various families and individuals are some of the things I only learned little about.

As Donna explained to me, I have left a bit of my spirit in her care, and a bit of her spirit remains in my care.  I thank her spirit and the spirits of her Osage extended family for traveling with and enlightening me.  I hope my spirit is blessing them as well.

originally posted 7/24/10

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