Missing That Drum

Labor Day Weekend used to be really important to my family. Starting in the early 90s, we would go to Pow Wow on the local reservation. The first couple years we just went to see the dancers, check out the booths and eat Fry Bread


or “Indian Tacos”


Then, as my ex got more involved with local activism and with tribal matters, we started camping for the full Friday night through Sunday Night Pow Wow.

My ex would work a booth at the Pow Wow. He passed out literature for Leonard Peltier Defence Committee, American Indian Movement, and various other local political issues. He also had buttons and t-shirts for sale. My daughters would run around with the other children, hang out at the circle, hang out at camp or at the booth with their father.

I guess I should mention that my ex is Ojibwe descent from Sault Saint Marie area. The Pow Wow is a local Kumeyaay one.

I mostly stayed at camp during the day, when it was hot. At night I was at the booth or in the bleachers listening to the drum and watching the dancers.

These are good memories. Memories of when my ex was sober and I was healthy and my family was happy.

I haven’t been to Pow Wow in years. The grove of eucalyptus trees we camped in has been seriously thinned out. The Hotel/Casino caters food for the dancers. A lot has changed and it doesn’t feel the same.

We took Ben when he was one year old. His birthday is September 2, so it’s during Labor Day weekend. He seemed to enjoy the drum, but even at one we knew there was something different about him. We didnt get his autism diagnosis until two years later. That was the last time I went. I want to remember it the way it was.

I do miss the drum though.




(images from wiki, except featured image link)