This past weekend my family and I were out on the Porch Creek Indian reservation for the annual Green Corn celebration. Because I was on my moon cycle, I was not able to participate fully. When it is your ‘time’ as a woman, you cannot touch the other people on the grounds because your body is in the process of purifying. You also are not able to touch the food, not even for preparation purposes. This left a great burden on the shoulders of my MIL because she was left with the task of preparing for the new fire from the ceremonial square AND doing all of the cooking and preparation for the men in our camp (for three out of four days). I was feeling rather guilty about leaving her with all of this work, but it was not like I had much choice in the matter. Thank goodness that her son Mark came down from New York and brought his girls. Kristen, Mark’s oldest daughter did a lot of women’s work to make up for my inability to work. She was a tremendous help to Mimi (my MIL) and I cannot imagine Mimi having had to do it all alone. Thank goodness for Kristen!
I found myself trying to think of an appropriate award for Kristen (and her sister Anna – who helped a great deal with my one year old daughter – a MUCH appreciated task) and of course my mind went to jewelry, because I can make that. As I struggled to think of something that would really resonate with their memories of the weekend, I remembered that sometimes as a reward to the male children and the men for contributions to their community (usually in the form of labor and/or performing certain tasks imperative to ceremonial functions), they might be given a feather. This is a special acknowledgement and a great honor. This gave me the brilliant idea of presenting Kristen and Anna with FEATHER pendants to acknowledge them for their contributions in the family camp. This is the first of two feathers. This one is for Kristen. Kristen also went through Green Corn this year. She danced around the fire all night right along side everyone else. This is no easy task and I know that everyone, including myself, is very proud of her for this accomplishment. She is on her way to becoming a woman.
I decided not to oxidize this piece because I am only putting it on a cord and I assume that she will likely switch it to a sterling chain later down the line. I would not want the feather to look ‘dirty’ next to the bright silver of a new chain, so I opted to leave the feather bright for her.
I have chosen to have Mimi present it to her rather than giving it to her myself. I think it will mean more to her to have Mimi, as the camp mother, present it to her.
You can read more about Green Corn on my blog, and find more pictures of our weekend – soon to come. Meanwhile, I just have to catch my breath and recover from the weekend first. We are all incredibly exhuasted!