Sunday, December 21, 2008

Carpenter Coyotes go Rock Climbing

A brave group of coyotes traveled to the Triangle Rock Club facility in Morrisville, NC to learn the "ropes" of rock climbing. The dads learned how to keep their sons from falling off the walls (called belaying). Cheers to the brave sons and dads!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fall Outing 2008

It's been a long week of work since our Fall Outing last Sunday. I've been looking forward to posting this since then. I really enjoyed the outing and I know the kids did too. I'm posting a few short videos to remember the night by.

If you look at this as an outsider, one who has not experienced the Indian Guides program, you certainly might think it cheezy or even silly, that grown men would dress in a leather patch-filled vest and march through a cold fall night to watch a ceremony by a lake. But there was something electric about the moment. There was an energy generated by the hundreds of men and their sons yelling "HOW HOW" at the beginning of the evening's ceremonial procession, then becoming strangely quiet, while marching through the darkness, led by the light of a few homemade torches, and the cadence of the lead guy beating a tom-tom every few seconds.

Then we marched, and marched, and marched, down the dark torch-lit road (video #2), and then it became even more surreal. In hindsight, the quietness made the moment. If you imagine this same march with talking, it is just another stroll down the road and through the woods. But with silence, you think of things. You think about how rarely you experience silence when you have kids. You think about how fleeting this moment is. You think about how special this night is for your son. How cool he must think it is to walk behind these torches in the dark, with his dad.

We saw a lighted path appear as we came over the hill - a path 40 feet wide, and leading all the way down a hill for hundreds of feet, to the lakeside amphitheatre below. On each side of the path, the 2nd year Guides and Braves held their homemade torches - hundreds of them - in a meandering pattern of light. Silhouettes of dads holding hands of sons filled the view of everyone in the march. The silence was broken only by the crunching twigs and acorns below our feet, and the occasional murmur in the distance.
We had our handful of patches already glued to our vests. The eagle with a single feather or two, a canoeing patch, and a few others. They... had dozens more - each signifying this memory or that memory - that will unlikely be forgotten. Somehow, as we walked through that processional, you could sense that this same scene had been repeated for scores of years, and for several generations. I wished I could freeze this moment a little bit longer, and remember the sensation of how important this time is for me and my son, who will certainly be grown before I know it.
Once seated in the amphitheatre, the nation's chief came across the lake in a canoe and eventually lit the ceremonial fire with a large explosion (video #3). The kids loved that... and frankly, what dad doesn't enjoy an unexpected explosion every once in a while?
Then we had an exchanging of vows, for lack of a better explanation. Father and Son exchanged a yellow and blue bear claw. This is what I remembered. The father agrees to give up selfishness - to not be selfish in focusing only on his own priorities like work and hobbies. The son agrees to give up impatience - to be patient with his dad and realize that dad has other priorities to deal with. Ie. Sons, give your dad a break. Dads, give your son your time. I thought that was ironic, yet poignant, since it is often kids who are selfish and parents who need patience. But we exchanged bear claws and sealed it with a hug.
So that's my memory of the fall outing for our first year of Indian Guides. More pictures are posted here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Camp Kanata

Fire Feather and I had a terrific time at Kanata yesterday. A big thanks to the tribe for all the food and snacks that were shared.

Hookin' Fish

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tallykeeper’s Report - First Meeting at Fields' TeePee

As the sun rose and with dew still on the grass, Red Thunder and Rushing Ram swiftly traveled throughout the land of Carpenter on iron horses, and delivered dream catchers and invitations to each teepee of each big Brave and little Brave, one by one.

Then, on the third Saturday under the waning moon in the month of pumpkins, eight little Braves and big Braves met in the teepee of our chief, Rushing Ram and Red Thunder. Red Thunder opened the Pow-Wow with 12 beats of the tribal tom-tom. The little Braves and big Braves then raised their hands and eyes to the Great Spirit and gave a tribal prayer. All Braves then joined to form the unbroken circle and courageously repeated the aims and pledge, led by our chief.

Beginning with Red Thunder and ending with Bear Rock, and moving as the planets revolve around the great light, each little Brave stood while holding the talking stick, made by Rising Sun and Great Wolf. One by one, each Brave boldly spoke his - and his father’s - real name and Indian name. Other Braves listened with great respect and did not speak until the talking stick was in their own hands, except to loudly say “HOW HOW!” after each little Brave finished.

Next, Red Wolf held the talking stick, and then showed the WAMPUM bag. With care, Laughing Horse explained how the tribe members will collect money earned while performing a service for family or community.

Soon, it was time for the tribe to select its name, by which it shall be known across the entire Arapahoe Nation. Red Thunder presented each little Brave two leaves, of different trees from the tribal forest: one, the red leaf from the great maple, representing the Carpenter Comanches; and two, the yellow leaf from the eastern red bud tree, representing the Carpenter Coyotes. One by one and in secret, each little Brave left the Pow-Wow room of the teepee, and cast their vote into the tribal urn. After all votes were cast, Red Wolf precisely counted each leaf in the urn, by laying them in two piles on the teepee mat. And by a 5-3 margin, the Braves shall forever be known as the Carpenter Coyotes. All the Braves, without fear, howled their best coyote sound, and together boldly proclaimed, “HOW HOW!”

Next, all the Braves gathered around the work table. Using special ink sticks, each Brave carefully wrote their real and Indian name on each side of a wooden spear head. Some Braves decorated their spear head with special symbols and markings. All the big Braves helped the little Braves make a necklace using leather from a cow’s hide. After enjoying some snacks, all the Braves returned to the Pow-Wow circle, content with both full belly, and their new tribal decoration.

After all the Carpenter Coyotes were seated, Running Bull received the talking stick. All the Braves listened intently as Running Bull explained each of the patches, feathers, beads, and the bear claw. All Braves waited patiently while Bear Rock handed out the red crow bead, program patch, and feather patch. Rushing Ram and Red Thunder were recognized with the Chief patch. Laughing Horse and Red Wolf received the Wampum patch. Thunder Eagle and Daring Eagle received the Sachem patch. Burping Platypus and Thunder Squirrel received the Fetchum patch. Bear Rock and Running Bull received the Tallykeeper patch. Fire Feather, Rising Sun, and the other Coyotes were especially excited to hear about the white polar bear claw that the Braves will receive after the Polar Bear Swim in the winter. All the Braves asked for clarification on how deep they had to get into the water to earn the white claw.

Next, all the Coyote Braves listened quietly as Daring Eagle and Thunder Eagle told the story of how the Indians received fire. The tribe felt a special connection as the great coyote was part of the story. After roaring like a lion, Daring Eagle was joined by Jumping Wolf when he howled like a wolf. Rising Sun helped to growl like a bear and bark like a fox. Burping Platypus joined in to help chatter like a squirrel and croak like a frog. And all the Carpenter Coyote Braves howled like a coyote! HOW HOW!

As the Pow-Wow ended, Chief Rushing Ram led the tribe in the ceremonial closing prayer, in sign language, and in honor of the Great Spirit.

Once the tribe was outside, Hookin’ Fish lit the tribal torch, and all the Braves followed Fire Feather on a march into the autumn wind to the Carpenter Coyote campgrounds, where seven teepees surrounded something that looked like it could be a pit of fire. That is where the big Braves made a great fire, while little Braves played in the darkness of the wide open grassy lands. Soon, the fire was blazing, and all Braves enjoyed making their own “smores”. Two containers of Jiffy Pop popcorn were sacrificed in the great fire in order to ward off evil spirits and flying insects. Big and little Braves played nighttime hide and seek. At ninety minutes before the midnight moon, the little Braves and big Braves each went to their own teepees, and bundled up in their sleeping bags, ready for a night when the sky air would be only eight degrees from when the big lake freezes.

As the sun rose in the cold autumn air, the little Braves returned to the chief’s teepee for some Dunkin Donuts and milk. Then the Carpenter Coyotes scattered into forest.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First Year Feather Award Requirements

Colored feather patches are awarded, as per the requirements listed below, at the rate of one per month, with no definite order required. Only little Braves/Princesses earn the Red, Blue, and Turquoise Feathers, which require memory work, with dad's coaching, of course. The remaining four feathers are earned by the Big and little Brave/Princess concurrently. Each patch is attached to the bottom of the feather award patch on your vest.

  • Red Feather: Know and repeat before tribe all the real and program names of each Big and Little Brave/Princess.

  • Blue Feather: Repeat the six Aims of the Y-Guide/Princess program.

  • Turquoise Feather: Recite the pledge of the Y-Guides and Princess program.

  • Orange Feather: Arrange a night-off for mom/family member. Big and Little Brave/Princess plan, purchase, cook, and serve dinner. After serving dinner, Big and Little Brave/Princess do the dishes. To earn this feather, a statement in writing to the Tallykeeper must be furnished.

  • Yellow Feather: Complete a 2-mile walking hike with Big Brave. This can be a tribe outing such as the Fall Outing at Camp Kanata. A report should be made at the next tribe meeting, each Brave/Princess telling of interesting things observed.

  • White Feather: Complete one overnight camping trip with Big Brave (Recommended as tribe outing.Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer do not count).

  • Green Feather: Complete three craft projects with Big Brave. These can be completed over a period of time. The projects will be presented to the tribe upon completion. The three do not have to be presented at the same meeting. The Tallykeeper will keep an accurate record of the projects. Crafts made at tribe meetings don't count.