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Pocumtuck Homelands Festival

When I left the possums with the woman at Medicine Mammals, she invited me to come to the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, on the banks of the Connecticut River in Turners Falls--an old mill town where once I heard Anaïs Mitchell perform. Yesterday, wakanomori and I went, and it turned out to be a wonderful time, full of connections, synchronicity, and good news about the possums.

We happened to arrive at exactly the moment that the Akwesasne Women Singers, featuring Bear Fox, were singing songs in Kanienkaha, the language known in English as Mohawk. Bear Fox appears in the film about the Akwesasne Freedom School, a Kanienkaha language-emersion school, that I've written about here and on the Pen Pal website. She's also a major force in the documentary Skydancer about Mohawk (Kanienkaha:ka) iron workers. And I got to see her perform! Here are 40 second of that performance:

Later on we went to buy a CD, and I was able to tell her how great I thought both documentaries had been. (The CD I chose was this one. "That's the best one," one of the other women told me."My fingers must have known instinctively," I said.)

Further along, we found Medicine Mammals.

I asked Loril, the rehabilitator, how the possums were doing. "They're doing great," she said. "The two you brought in, plus the other three--they're all together now in a flannel pouch." She said she and her group were about to do some drumming for a woman who was going to perform a hoop dance, so we stayed for that.

The drummers and singers

The dancer

The audience--I remember being able to sit the way the girl in the first photo is sitting

Near the end of her performance, the dancer passed the hoops to kids and led them in a weaving dance, then asked them to pass the hoops on to others. Meanwhile the singers modified their chant: "Teeeenage Ninja Muuuutant Turtles . . . They are powerfulllll," and so on. It was very fun.

After we left, we went for a stroll by the shores of the river at a point where its waters were mainly being diverted.

The area was girdled round with danger signs, warning that the water level could rise suddenly, and indeed, above our head, the full power of the river was being diverted away to generate electricity. Photos are inadequate for capturing the roiling, whirlpooling, bubbling, turbulent--how many more adjectives can I add??--power of the river in the narrow(er) channel. We walked over a railway bridge above it and got dizzy looking at it.

Last but not least, in the parking lot I collected data for a new Tumblr: Prius bumper stickers (by which I mean, bumper stickers on Priuses, not bumper stickers featuring Priuses). At least in this neck of the woods, they definitely have themes in common... If you happen to see any good ones, send me a picture, and I'll upload it--crediting you in a form you desire!


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2016 11:31 am (UTC)
Sounds like a fun day!
Aug. 7th, 2016 02:54 pm (UTC)
It really was--I think you would have loved it. (I'm sure you've been to similar.)
Aug. 7th, 2016 01:31 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad the possums are doing well. That gathering looks interesting and I'm delighted to learn that there are schools where everything is taught in the Kanienkaha language. Language and culture are so intertwined that you need to make sure that both have a future.
Aug. 7th, 2016 02:54 pm (UTC)
language and culture
Yes they are! I'm glad to see them kept alive or revivified--humanity at large is the richer for it.
Aug. 7th, 2016 02:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you had an awesome day. I love the singing.

The river is beautiful.

I'm so glad to hear that the babies are doing well.

Yep, I think the same types of people are driving all those Priuses. (I don't have any bumper stickers on mine. I don't want to ruin the paint, LOL. But, I'll see what I can find around here.)
Aug. 7th, 2016 02:53 pm (UTC)
Oh I was just going to write you a note to say that I mean the Tumblr as sort of affectionate ribbing--I didn't want you to think I have it in for Prius owners! Or, for that matter, for any of the opinions expressed, many of which dovetail with my own. So I'm glad you've taken it in the spirit intended ♥
Aug. 7th, 2016 03:35 pm (UTC)
Out here, you find a lot of business people own Priuses to save money on commutes. But, the rest mostly share the environmental/be kind to everyone frame of mind, which I like.

Some people do not, though, and consider Prius drivers extremely liberal. I have been flipped off and even spat at as I drive by. How bizarre is that?
Aug. 7th, 2016 03:45 pm (UTC)
I think that stinks! I'm really sorry people can be such jerks -_-
Aug. 7th, 2016 03:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, I would have loved to tag along! That looks awesome. Thanks for sharing.

(I have their album playing right now.)
Aug. 8th, 2016 11:38 pm (UTC)
Aren't the songs good? I'm very happy with the CD.
Aug. 7th, 2016 10:40 pm (UTC)
Looks like a great day! Thanks for bringing us along...
Aug. 8th, 2016 11:38 pm (UTC)
Very much my pleasure!
Aug. 8th, 2016 02:46 am (UTC)
I asked Loril, the rehabilitator, how the possums were doing. "They're doing great," she said. "The two you brought in, plus the other three--they're all together now in a flannel pouch."

I am very glad to hear it about the possums. The rest of the day just sounds wonderful.
Aug. 8th, 2016 11:39 pm (UTC)
It was a wonderful day in every way, and I was so happy and relieved about the possums!
Aug. 8th, 2016 10:26 am (UTC)
What a great event - I'm glad you found out about it!
Aug. 8th, 2016 11:40 pm (UTC)
Me too! The serendipity of it all contributed to how wonderful it was.
Aug. 8th, 2016 02:38 pm (UTC)
That sounds lovely!
Aug. 8th, 2016 11:40 pm (UTC)
It was great :-)
Aug. 9th, 2016 01:10 am (UTC)
I'm glad you were able to go to the festival. I always love events like that one. I've been to a few here, sometimes simply stumbling into an event while out doing other activities, sometimes invited in much the way you were.

I'm very tickled by the idea of the possum joeys in their flannel pouch. Not as good as mom's, obviously, but warm and cozy.
Aug. 9th, 2016 12:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, I loved the homemade pouch too. It reminds me of the picture book Sebastian Lives in a Hat, about an orphaned baby wombat.
Aug. 9th, 2016 03:15 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a sweet book. I love it that books from Australia, NSW, and NZ are finding their way to the US.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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