Saturday, May 06, 2006

From Minneapolis to Fargo

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes. Only today, as the plane I was in approached Minneapolis, did I actually believe it: the expanse below was wooded in parts and dotted, overwhelmingly, with lakes. It was a surprise for me, understandably, for in Phoenix lakes are either created by dams, or forcibly built in suburbs – complete with ducks, boats, and palm trees along the circumference – to maintain in a water-starved region the illusion of paradise.

On from Minneapolis to Fargo, on to the northern Great Plains region, to flatter- than-flat land apportioned, with some geometrical precision, into massive square tracts of intensively irrigated farms. And in the corner of each square, a home – the farm residence one presumes – well ensconced in a stand of trees.

But the northern Great Plains – they bring to my mind something else: the Plains Tribes, whose fierce warrior dances I had seen and enjoyed at Native American dance events that are better known as powwows.


Blue Viking said...

Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, looks even better from close. The favorite pastime of people here is all built around the lakes.
Fishing, boating, hiking, biking and running around the lake trails is all one does in summer. In winter it is time for ice fishing, skiing and driving on these lakes when they are frozen solid. We will do all these when you visit here.

I did not know the origin of the word "powwow". It is used often by my colleagues to refer to important meetings.

Hari said...

I've now linked to the wikipedia entry for powwows. There's lots of information on what powwows are, its history etc. As you mentioned, powwows are important meetings, but the songs and dances form a signifact part - at least these days - of the powwow.