Native American Festival @ Shoreline Village

Long Beach, California
March 18, 2017

The Native American Festival was held at the colorful little Shoreline Village in Long Beach, California.  I heard about the event like I do most events, through social media.  I was really excited to go because it described there being live dancing, singing, food, music, stoytelling, etc.  I was really ready to learn/experience the culture as well as  learn about causes to help the community.  When I got there, it was a lot smaller than I expected.  Besides the beautiful dances and drumming, I started exploring and there were only very small tabled scattered about Shoreline Village some with just flyers and performance schedules and some with crafts and things for sale, nothing pointing you in any particular direction.  I have to be honest and say I was a little let down but I was really looking to make the most of what was there and it ended up being one of the most motivational days I've had in a while.

As I made my way around Shoreline and I stopped at a table with a bunch of wooden flutes.  This little boy sat behind the table and looked proudly at people stopping by to see what was on display.  I decided to take some pictures of him because I thought it was pretty boss of this little guy to be running this table so confidently all by himself.  He picked up one of the flutes and started playing . As soon as I took a photo of him, he immediately noticed and quickly started playing his heart out a random jumble of notes. I took a few more because was putting so much into it. One of the cutest moments ever.

The next table that caught my eye was this man making various things out of beads.  A mother and daughter were both curiously looking over the table watching the man and listening to him explain.  He was showing them how to thread the beads, the meanings of colors, as well as the numbers and meanings, that affect the pattern of what you are creating.  I only caught part of what he was saying but I decided to capture this moment because I loved the way culture was being taught and the curiosity it brought out of people regardless of age.

The kids section had free face painting and dreamcatcher making, but the tables were crowded with both kids and adults.  You would think it was chaotic, but really everyone was leaning in listening to the old lady explain how to weave the dreamcatcher.  The day was nice but the energy was really warm.  I especially felt that when I saw this girl getting her face painted.Maybe it was the way the lady was smiling and gently painting the girls face or it was because the girl was so eagerly but patiently waiting.  Something about this moment just made me feel warm.


 

The Hopi's dances were my favorite.  Before the dancers started, we were told to use our imagination.  He said we might see a butterfly, a sun, bird, etc but it was up to us to decide what we saw from the rings.  I loved the fact that the dancers, in a matter of seconds, go from being inside a bunch of rings, to making a ball, to making wings.  I could sit there and watch them dance forever.


 

"It's time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength." -Maya Angelou

"When you talk, you're only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new" -Dali Lama