FEAST OF THE SOUTH Indigenous womens gathering in Alabama
Takaji My Relatives
This past weekend the beautiful sunny weather and the fantastic magic of the New Moon conspired to create the perfect environment for a magnificent Indigenous women's event called "FEAST OF THE SOUTH" in the area of Delta, Alabama not far from Taladega, at the Cheaha State Park.
I was invited in the role of special support elder by my Taino tribal fellow Lupe Negron who happened to be entering her own drum singing group, "WOMEN BRIDGING WORLDS" at the event.
Lupe and her husband Johnny Negron are Boriken Tainos who are seeking to enhance their knowledge of our ancient tradition. She organized her group with women of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous background, and they sounded wonderful.
I was touched by the fact that most of the women of the group chose to decorate their white regalia with Taino designs and the women even chose one of our own Caney Circle songs, the chant to Ata Bey as one of the numbers that they featured on Saturday, the first day of the two-day event.
Fellow schoolteacher Michelle's regalia was emblazoned with the sacred water-bird petroglyph image from the ceremonial site of Caguana in Boriken (Puerto Rico).
I was plesantly surprised to find our own Peaceburgh sister Susan Ferraro who had entered our own local White Buffalo Drum in the event. I had the pleasure of hearing her interpret several of the songs that the White Buffalo Drum women often sing right here in Pittsburgh.
I set up my sacred Taino altar complete with images of Yokahu, Atabey and the cemi birds of the four directions near the tent of WOMEN BRIDGING WORLDS drum group and supported the group with ceremony and singing with my maraca (rattle), quena flute and mayohuakan log drum.
Eventually the women of Lupe's group took a moment to honor me with gifts gracefully chosen and holding great symbolism and meaning, a miniature door that represented the opening of doors and, of course, tobacco.
The icing on the cake came on Monday when I had the opportunity to spend some time with Boriken Taino warrior guaribo who resides in North Carolina, Joseph Amahura, and his wife. They had travelled to Atlanta, Georgia where Lupe has her health proffesional office. Amahura is one of her clients and I was able to spend some valuable time in conversation with this wise brother. That Monday evening before I took off for the airport for my trip back to Pittsburgh I had the chance for a last minute drum session with the women of WOMEN BRIDGING WORLDS at Lupe and Johnny's home in Atlanta.
I want to express my sincerest gratitude to Lupe for inviting me as her ceremonial sponsor at the event, and to both Johnny and Lupe for their exquisite hospitality in their fabulously gorgeous home in the woods in Cherokee county Georgia.
Bo matun (Thanks), Seneko kakona(Many Blessings)