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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our Nani Taino contestant at Miss Indian World, Gathering of Nations Pow Wow



I watched the entire Gathering of Nations Pow Wow live on the web. When it started, I looked for Nani our Taino Miss Indian World contestant during the Grand Entry. I got excited when I saw her. I called out to my neighbor, my dog, and even my Mom who at 97 sometimes tunes in.” There she is I said as if I was talking to a crowd…J  there is our Nani :) Gee, it felt so good to see her.There she was a young Taino woman representing her small community, and her cultural heritage with pride. Joanne Nani Morales dressed from head to toe in total Taino regalia and a spectacler smile gracing her face.

So with a bag of popcorn in my hand, I silenced the ringer on my phone and I joined the Pow Wow…via my desktop and am I ever so glad I did for there were so many moments that were enjoyable in spite of the distance...it was after all a live webcast …and there is a huge difference between that and being actually present in the pit.

During the Honoring of native veterans, the sound of native drums embraced the Pow wow floor
There were many Honoring songs of respect,echoing the sentiment of pride we all feel for our native Military
In history natives have valiantly served or have served in the defense of our Homelands and nations.
As the mother of a young soldier who has served in Iraq and the Aunty of a nephew who recently returned 
from Afghanistan, I know how meaningful these tributes can be for native families. 
Gathering of nations Pow Wow never forgets our military. It was good to see and to feel the spirit of this
event even via the web. This was indeed an awesome moment.

Then there were the little ones, watching these tiny tots dance filled my heart with smiles. Moreover, it is ever so sweet to see the future of native nations dancing before your eyes,to boot they are just adorable to see. All of them are just darn cuteJ.Lots of grandma’s and grandpa's were soaking up the joy of watching the little ones dance.

I also enjoyed tremendously the elders dancing competition.These beautiful elders are the backbone of native communities. They reminded me of the courage love and respect it takes to live our native cultures in today’s world. When we give thought to the fact that native communities  are still subject  to the violation of our rights as a people…these elders some well into their 70’s  make us all  feel  nothing but absolute respect for them and the strength of their native  spirits. I can only hope that some of us as elders today guided by spirit can  pass on to the younger generations the teachings, morals and principles of our native ways with the same love our ancestors had for each other..

The entertainment, the dancing feet of native people along with the wacky jokes by the MCS made for several days of Pow wow fun via the web minus the food :) but one can always munch on Popcorn.

On Saturday I looked forward to the Miss Indian World pageant...
Unlike the frivolous nature of the more commercial cutthroat type of pageants, Miss Indian world is an honoring of the diversity and beauty of our native cultures. Each one of the contestants represents the heart and the spirit of her people and Indian country as a whole…it does not get better than that.
I love this pageant as it gives our young women the opportunity to express their pride in being native women. 

In the short time these young women spend as contestants together new and lasting friendships are created. Alien from the non-native colonial mindset of commercial competition these young women bond together with love and respect for each other.You can see the genuine smiles between these young women towards each other. As a grandmother in a circle of native women, it warms the heart to see this.
I love it when native women come together in events that embrace a sisterhood among our various nations. Many thanks to the committee and the creators of the Miss Indian World contest …Love that it is native run and very native in thought and content.May it never ever fall into the templates of any of the non-native commercial run pageants we so often see in society today.

With these thoughts in my head, I reached for my second bag of popcorn on this the last night of the Pow wow.
When the MC announced that the Miss Indian World program was about to take place I felt the Goosebumps starting up. I knew Nani was number 28 and as such the closer, they got to her number the closer I found myself moving towards my computer screen...I knew for so many of our people Nani  was already a winner.:)

Led by last year’s Miss Indian World Majorie Tahbone  all the contestants  waved as they entered the Pitt.They looked so beautiful .each one a winner already and all would make an excellent representative of Indian country.
With each contestant's name and nation announced, I could not help but remember these words of native wisdom. “A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.”
I was happy for all the girls and I cheered for each one of them…but I have to admit when they called out number 28 Joanne Nani Morales Taino from Puerto Rico first runner up I screamed and jumped out of my seat.

The Popcorn I had  flew out of the bag into the air like confetti…My dog was barking for joyJsensing whatever it is it is a happy moment. My Mom tuned in from her personal space station and clapped for what she figured was surly a party. :) I danced I cried I cheered and I said Bomatum to the ancestors who I knew where in there cheering as well.

So it is I say .Bomatum Joanne Nani Morales hija de Atabei for giving your people this shining moment of hope. Bomatum Joanne Nani Morales for standing up with pride and respect for our people and our culture.
I knew from day one of this competition you would make us make us all feel proud.

I am happy for you and all the young native women who took part in Miss Indian world. I am happy for the community of Yukayeke Guainía .I am happy for the UCTP as it once again writes another positive chapter in the UCTP history of our people.
One thing is sure  It will forever be written for our future generations to know that Joanne Nani Morales of Yukayeke Guainía a  small Boriken tribal  community and member affiliate of UCTP was first runner up in Miss Indian World Gathering of Nations Pow Wow 2012.

It was not long ago when we saw another young woman  in the Circle win Miss Indian World 2007  of Cree and Taino  decent her name is Violet John….Today we add the name of Joanne Nani Morales Taino  to that list of honorable young women among our people . 

The Circle of Grandmothers and women of  Bohio Atabei, are very proud of you..Like many of our young women You are a gift of joy and we were happy to give you our unwavering blessings and support for this event.
In you Joanne Nani Morales, we see the purity of spirit only a sincere and loving heart has. In you we see the ray of hope many of our young people bring to the future of our people.

With respect we also wish to  acknowledge your parents  as the apple does not fall far from the tree.Congradulations to your parents for gifting to the world such a beautiful human soul.
To your parents and family congradulations  from the Council of Grandmothers Bohio Atabei.


We are as well  happy for the young woman who won Jessa Rae Growing Thunder

Fort Peck Assiniboine/Sioux Poplar, Montana Congradulations to her and her community.
Indian country we know will have an excellent ambassador in her.Congrdulations to 2nd runner up
Nikki Santos and her community... love her beautiful smile..
As well much love to each one of the contestants, all of them are winners in our hearts.ALL OF THEM
Lastly, I am happy for all of the people who believed in Nani and sent her their blessings,Bomatum 

I know that nothing but good things await Nani and all the young woman who took part in the Miss Indian world competition.All of you along with so many of our young people will do great things.
All of you bring honor to your people .
On behalf of the Council of Grandmothers Bohio Atabei .the Peace and Dignity Route of the Red Tail Hawk organizers and runners Much Love.Seneko Kakona ,Thank you for being present in our lives.

In conclusion Thank you to all the people  past, present and future  responsible for  the Gathering of Nations and for the live Web cast…Way to go gathering way to goJ


All photos 
©Gatheringofnations LTD.
www.gatheringofnations.com

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