THE VETERAN DANCER
At a pow wow, the Head Veteran leads the dancers around the sacred circle when the MC calls for a Veterans Dance. He is chosen by the pow wow committee, and it is a great honor among those who have served in our armed forces to be chosen, and also to dance the Veterans Dance. It is a very spiritual, emotional and heart-warming dance.
The first time I was asked to be the Head Veteran Dancer was for the American Indian Council’s pow wow, which is held every year at Lebanon, Indiana.
It is a tradition among Native American dancers that, in the event of the loss of a family member, you do not dance for a one-year period. My daughter, Shari, was just 21 years of age when she was killed in an auto accident in December of 1986. It had not been quite a year when I was asked to be the Head Veteran Dancer. I counseled with respected elders and decided to accept the responsibility of Head Veteran Dancer for the Lebanon Pow wow. I felt God’s loving grace and unconditional love in that sacred circle as He spoke to my spirit, “Peace be with you.” I looked up toward the heavenly blue sky, and at that moment, a great spirit bird circled and blessed our Veteran Dancers as well as all of God’s creation. A profound peace came over me as I said, “Bless you, Shari. I love you. Bless you, Dad, I love you. We will always be together in love and light. Keep dancing!”
Rev. Tom Dancing Feather Ebbing
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