Kauai Pow Wow “Drum, the heartbeat of the people”

Kauai hosted it’s annual Pow Wow in Kapaa this past weekend, and the theme was “Drum, the heartbeat of the people.”  In honor of this theme, all indiginous drummers were invited to participate, and Auntie Ilima Rivera’s Keiki Halau performed traditional Tahitian dances during a break in the ceremony.

With my two grandsons in tow (age 2 and 3) we found a spot in the shade and arrived just before the opening ceremony on Saturday.  I attend the Pow Wow almost every year, when I hear the drums and the chanting it never fails to bring tears to my eyes.  It’s as if the drum resonates with my heart in ways I don’t fully understand.    

Although raised in all white middle America, I do know my grandmother was raised on the Omaha reservation.  It’s hard to tell with American family histories, what our real ancestory is.  During my mother and grandmother’s day, it was dangerous to acknowledge diversity.  My mother comments on how often people thought her mother was Indian – ya think?   But to respect where she comes from growing up in the early 20th century, I’m sure all of that history was wiped out to create an “easier” life for the children.  None the less, roots do have a way of sneaking through the best deceptions… as I learn about Native American culture, I’ve seen many shadows of the ways of my mother and grandmother.  As the elders pray – “for all my relations.”  All of life is connected, and that’s the rhythm I hear – the rhythm of life.

Opening ceremony was led by Native American veterans of 4 major wars.

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Throughout the day, both boys were mesmerized by the drums and dancers, but the oldest one, Makana (all of 3), actually pulled me out into the circle to dance in one of the inter-tribal dances.  He ventured out a bit with the elders on another dance on his own, then became shy.  It’s no wonder the life rhythm of the drums resonates – his mother danced Tahitian while she was pregnant with him.  The Keiki Tahitian performers from Auntie Ilima Rivera’s Halau were darling when they performed during one of the breaks.

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The prayers, rememberances of the deceased and celebrations of life were good reminders of what’s really of value. 

Apache Blessing 
(posted on Kauai Pow Wow site)

May the sun bring you new energy by day
May the moon softly restore you by night
May the rain wash away your worries
May the breeze blow new strength into your being
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.


About Susanna "Susie" Kunkel, RA

With a belief that life is too short to not follow your dreams, Susie and her daughter became new Kauai residents in less than 4 months after visiting for the first time in 2000. She brings a wealth of information from her background in administrative, contract and paralegal work in a variety of industries including technology, investment banking, biotech and estate planning. As a Realtor, Susies's tenacious and technical approach have earned her a large group of extremely loyal clients. Susanna is a steadfast believer in "The Golden Rule", and applies it to her approach as a Realtor. "Each client and each property are unique, so it's important to me to listen intently to what my clients' goals are, and to make sure I go above and beyond to help meet them."
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2 Responses to Kauai Pow Wow “Drum, the heartbeat of the people”

  1. Gary Corrales says:

    Thank you Apache Ancestors!!

  2. SES Gove says:

    ‘here in Kauai until Sunday night. ‘Travel, walk and pray for indigenous peoples in many countries.
    Ancestors planted good things that many cultures can learn about the land, respect for others begins with respect for life. ‘ found your article looking for Kauai native drums, flutes and rattles for Pow-Wows on the mainland. Regalia shells are a premium there, as well. Thanks for honoring the Red Road.

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