The Call of the Drum…


I can still hear the drums.

My heart will beat with the drums forever…

Hi Friends!

We recently returned from a wonderful visit with loved ones in Arizona.  Whether we are hiking in the Tonto National Forest or just walking through the neighborhood, we always admire Red Mountain for its distinctive shape and gorgeous color.


Red Mountain stands on land owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Over the years, we have traveled through the reservation land many, many times. A major road, using the dry bed of the Salt River, passes right through the vast Indian reservation. This road is only closed when heavy rains turn it back into a fast-moving river.

This time, we felt so fortunate to spend a very special day on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa reservation!


We couldn’t wait to attend our very first PowWow!  We arrived early and could hear the call of the drum as we walked across the grassy field. The beautiful, stirring sounds of a Drum circle welcomed us.


We stood transfixed as we listened to the music of the drummers sitting in a tight circle around the ceremonial drum. The men were playing the drum and singing, while their wives and children sat in another circle around them. Well-known Host Drums traveled a great distance to perform at this Pow Wow. Black Bear (Quebec, Canada), Northern Cree (Alberta, Canada), Omaha White Tail (Nebraska), and Southern Thunder (Oklahoma) played throughout the two-day event.


Traditionally, Pow Wows gather Native American people together as a celebration of American Indian culture. It is a powerful way of preserving the rich heritage of the American Indian people. It is a time of dancing, singing, renewing old friendships, and making new friends. The Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow shares Native American Arts and Crafts and traditional foods. Everyone is welcome!


Groups of Gourd Dancers performed throughout the morning. The soul-stirring music brought together people from tribes across North America.  Drums and Singers are very important people in Native American culture. For without them, there would be no dancing. Their songs can be religious, for war, and social. At a Pow Wow, most of the songs are social, in nature.


As we watched the Gourd Dancers, my husband noticed that this dancer’s beaded headband showed all of his Vietnam War medals. Throughout our history, Native Americans have served in our Armed Forces in greater percentages than any other ethnic group. They have served our country with honor in every major conflict for over 200 years. The service, dedication, and patriotism of our Native American veterans should be honored by all Americans.


After a hot morning in the bright, desert sun, it was time to find more water and taste some traditional American Indian foods. We watched as they prepared our Frybread and topped it with cinnamon and sugar. My husband also ate Frybread filled with mutton and chili peppers. We enjoyed our picnic lunch with a friendly local who told us more about the Pow Wow. The hot sun, the sound of the drums and singing, and the traditional food made memories we will cherish.


As the time drew near for the Grand Entry, we walked around admiring the traditional dress. It was fascinating to watch the dancers put on layer upon layer of brightly-colored fabric, intricate beadwork, moccasins with bells, beautiful jewelry, and immense feather adornments. I just couldn’t resist asking permission to take photos.


Spectacular, from both the front and back, the friendly dancers posed with pride. I was very interested to learn the name of their tribe and which part of the United States they traveled from for this special gathering.


By pure luck, we found ourselves standing at the exact place where the Grand Entry would begin. My camera and I were thrilled!!  🙂 It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see all of the dancers from only an few feet way. We admired their gorgeous, traditional clothing up close as they slowly walked by. It was an experience I will treasure forever, as 500 dancers of all ages moved to the beat of the Drum, ready to enter the arena. Their serene, serious faces told us that this was a very important experience for them, as well.


During the Grand Entry into the arena, everyone stands while the flags are carried in: the U.S. flag, Tribal flags, the P.O.W. flag, and the Eagle Staffs of all of the Indian Nations present at the Pow Wow. The flags are usually carried by veterans. Despite the horrific treatment received from our country, Native Americans hold the U.S. flag in an honored position.


The U.S. flag holds two special meanings for the American Indians. It is a way to remember all of their ancestors who fought against this country long ago. It also symbolizes the United States and the important role of Native Americans in our country. The U.S. flag also honors all of the Native Americans who have bravely fought for this country.


As the Grand Entry begins, the veterans carrying the flags are followed by the Tribal Chiefs, Princesses, and Elders. The men dancers are always next in line, followed by the women dancers.


The women Jingle Dancers wear a beautiful Jingle Dress (or Prayer Dress). Long ago, the dress was seen in a dream, as an object to bring healing to the sick. The Chippewa people sew rows of bells encircling a colorful skirt.  The bells are so close together that they jingle and ring while dancing. The Jingle Dancers’ bells sound just like falling rain as they dance. It is so beautiful!


As the Drums play, singers from different tribes gather together to share traditional songs. Some of these songs are sung as ‘vocables,’ with no words, so that singers from all Indian Nations can join in, no matter their tribal language. These songs still hold deep  meaning to those who remember the original lyrics.


Dances have always played a very important role in American Indian life. Most of the dances at Pow Wows are social dances. Although dancing styles and clothing have changed over the years, the meaning of the dances has not. The Native American culture is a vibrant, ever-changing way of life!


Once all 500 dancers entered the arena that afternoon, a special Honor Song was sung to honor the flags and the veterans. After a prayer, the dancing continued. We found seats in the front row of the bleachers and were mesmerized by the colorful clothing and the beat of the Drum.





There were several huge Circle dances with all of the dancers moving in circles, like a coiling snake. Different Drum circles provided the music, while the dancers moved to the rhythm of the Drum.


It was so beautiful to see people from all generations, from the Tiny Tots (up to 4 years old) to the Golden Age (60+ years old) dancers sharing their long history and culture. The best dancers and Drum circles would be awarded prizes at the close of the two-day Pow Wow.


As the dancers moved in the hot sun all afternoon, their passion and dedication as they celebrated their culture truly moved me. Sitting in the hot sun took its toll on us, yet they were dancing in layer upon layer of cotton, deerskin, beads, and feathers. After we left, there would be another Grand Entry in the evening and another day of dancing and drumming on Sunday. What an unforgettable celebration!

A Pow Wow is such a wonderful way of bringing the past into the future!


The Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow left such a powerful impression on my heart. I’m sure that the vivid colors and serene feelings of that day will inspire my artwork and writing always.

I can still hear the drums.

My heart will beat with the drums forever…

Enjoy the Grand Entry of the 30th Annual Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow…

(Video credit: rd47blog)

30th Annual Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow ~ Men’s Traditional dance                    

(Video credit:  rd47blog)


Heartfelt thanks for always taking the time to visit and leave thoughtful comments on our blog.

Each time I count my blessings, I think of my dear family, friends, and blog friends!


You inspire me to grow in so many creative ways!

Happy Thanksgiving!

♡ Dawn







29 thoughts on “The Call of the Drum…

    • Beautifully said, Judy! It was such a special, moving feeling to be standing right in the midst of everyone at the Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow. I shall always hear the call of the Drum ~ and remember… Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Judy! You are a blessing! ♡

  1. Dawn , my friend from Texas (you know her) just gave me her traditional outfit from her childhood. She is 50% Native American and would often travel with her mother to Pow Wows. She also gave me her mother’s owl puppet that she used when telling stories to the children. They are Mohawk and originated from Canada.If you would ever like to talk to her mother, I can arrange that! Her stories are fascinating.

    • Oh, yes, Kim! Let’s plan a visit together! It would be just amazing to hear her stories. The more I learned and saw, the more questions I have. I hope we will have the opportunity to visit the Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow next year. It would be beautiful to see the evening Grand Entry. Just imagine the bright colors and the sound of the drums under the arena lights! I think it would be fascinating to visit a Pow Wow here in the Midwest, too. So much to learn!! Feel free to share this post with D. Happy Thanksgiving, dear friend! So many of my blessings will gather around your table tomorrow. Hugs for all! ♡

  2. What a wonderful opportunity to join in the PowWow, Dawn! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    • It was such an amazing feeling, Carol! Peek at the videos for a bit of the flavor of the Pow Wow. I will always cherish our time standing in the midst of this beautiful tradition. It is so important today, as our Native Americans still face so many struggles. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Carol! You are such a blessing in my life! ♡

  3. What a wonderful event to experience, Dawn. How very colorful the costumes are. Years ago when I worked for the gov’t I traveled to that reservation to talk about a community development program they were participating in. Never got to see dancers, though in all the years I worked with Tribes on this program. Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • It truly was a wonderful experience, Marcia! What a small world! That must have been a fascinating job. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community was a perfect host for this annual Pow Wow. Take a peek at the videos to experience some of the sights and sounds! Wishing you a Happy First Thanksgiving in your new home! So much to be grateful for this year! ♡

  4. Dawn, it’s so good to see your post today. I was thinking you might be visiting family as I remember you do in November. What an amazing adventure you have experienced. I’ve never been to a Pow Wow , though we do have them in Va. There are eleven tribes in our state with two reservations– The Pamunkey and the Mattopani. I can’t imagine wearing all of those clothes in the Arizona heat! Your post certainly honors the bravery and tradition that these tribes continue to keep alive. Hearing the drums must have been very moving.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, dear Dawn. ♥

    • Heartfelt thanks, Martha Ellen! We have been enjoying nice family times and just returned home. I am so grateful that we had the chance to experience our first Pow Wow! I think it would be fascinating to visit a Pow Wow here in the Midwest one day. It’s definitely time to visit Virginia, too. My list of places to explore is growing! 🙂 Thanksgiving is such a special holiday. We are really looking forward to it! Wishing you and Grayden a lovely Thanksgiving with your family! Miss you, Martha Ellen.♥ Your friendship is truly a blessing. I have lots of catching up to do! ♡

  5. This looks so vibrant and colourful festival. You know we have such similar festivals too. I belong from the North-east part of India, precisely from the state Manipur. We have International Sangai Festival there. And our neighbouring state – Nagaland celebrates Hornbill Festival there. You may into these links to see how they are: and . This festivals preserves the culture and heritage of their tribe and it also depicts that we should all be proud of our roots. 🙂 thank you for sharing your wonderful time in Arizona with us. Hope someday I’ll be able to attend it too. Till then happy thanksgiving to you and your family 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Ricky, for sharing your beautiful festivals from Northeast India! ♥ It would be so fascinating to see the Sangai Festival. The colorful Hornbill Festival is just around the corner. It is so important to celebrate and preserve our customs and heritage. The more we learn about other cultures, the more we will understand all of the ways that we are alike! Although I have never visited India, my husband traveled to India before we met. I love hearing his stories of your beautiful part of the world! Together we have visited Hindu temples and festivals in our area, learning more about the Indian people, the traditions, and the delicious foods of India.

      Our day at the Native American Pow Wow will always hold a special place in my heart. I still want to learn more so that I can understand all that we experienced on that special day. It was so heartwarming to see the youngest dancers learning about their heritage from the elders. Thank you for your Thanksgiving wishes! We are looking forward to a special day with family. Thank you, again, for the wonderful links to help us learn more about Manipur and Nagaland! It’s lovely to have blog friends from such interesting places! Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving, too, Ricky! It’s a perfect day to count all of your blessings! ♡

  6. Thank You. 🙂 I’m lucky too to have a wonderful friend like you from a different part of the world. And as I always say, your blog is pure joy to me. I always get to learn new things from every blog of yours. Good Night. And Happy Thanksgiving again. May Peace, love, happiness and thankfulness stay in your home throughout the year ❤

    • Heartfelt thanks for your very kind words, Ricky! It is so lovely to meet creative people, both near and far, who inspire us. I always enjoy peeking into your studio, seeing your original designs, and learning about the beautiful part of India where you live. The vivid colors of the festivals we both visit are sure to inspire our artwork! It will be such fun to play with these colors using watercolors and inks on paper! Wishing you inspired, creative, messy time in your studio this weekend, Ricky! ♡

    • Warm hugs, Karen! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving! Now that I’m back home again, I’ll be visiting very soon. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, Karen! ♡

  7. I watched a similar demonstration in Phoenix with an old friend. it was fascinating. Thank you for bring back wonderful memories. It makes my herniated disc and painful hip/leg recovery that much easier. Reminder to be thankful for all the health we enjoy.

    • I’m so happy that we both share such wonderful memories of a Pow Wow, Anne! I will carry the memories in my heart forever. I’m so sorry to hear about your herniated disc and the excruciating pain, dear friend. I will be in touch. Wishing that I lived close enough to help out. Our health is truly an important blessing… today and always! We will be keeping you close in our hearts, dear Anne! Sending very gentle hugs from our house to yours… ♡

  8. Oh, Dawn – a heartfelt thanks to you. This was a remarkable, informative, and inspiring post.
    Your photos are amazing and your text – well, I could almost feel the beat of the drums. What vibrant colors and works of art.
    I was particularly moved by your words commemorating the 200+ years of Native American service in the Armed Forces. One of the last, if not the last, Code Breaker of WWII recently passed away. I felt a depth of sorrow and of gratitude upon hearing that news.

    • Many thanks, Penny! Standing in the midst of this amazing gathering of people from so many different places and tribes is a memory that I will cherish forever! We felt so welcome at the Pow Wow and we could feel both the pride and passion of the participants as they danced and drummed. If you take a short peek at the video, you will hear the sounds of the Grand Entry, too. I learned so much… and still want to learn more about all that we experienced at the Pow Wow that day. We owe such a debt of gratitude to the Native American veterans for their service and sacrifice for our country. Veterans played an important role in the Pow Wow. Thank you for always being here and sharing your thoughts, dear Penny! I look forward to your visits! ♡

    • It truly was a wonderful experience, Marlene! Five hundred dancers and numerous drum circles traveled from so many places to be part of this gathering. How fortunate you were to see many Pow Wows on the Apache Reservation. “Awe inspiring” is the perfect description, Marlene! Thank you so much for visiting today. Wishing you a nice start to December. 🙂 It won’t be long now… ♡

  9. What an amazing experience Dawn! This is something that my hubby and I would love. Learning more about their culture would be fabulous. They truly are an amazing people!

    • You would really enjoy a Pow Wow, Jann! It was such an honor just to be in the midst of 500 dancers, the traditions, and of course the sound of the drum! I learned so much… and really want to learn more. Thanks so much for visiting today, Jann! Wishing you magical December days! ♡

  10. As I’m catching up on all of my fellow bloggers, I read your captivating post.. Carrying the thoughts from what I have read, I rush upstairs to kiss my 11 year old son goodnight, I tell him I love him and hold him close, thinking of how lucky I am.. On the first year of being married, my husband and I visited Arizona and met some of the American Indians, they were wonderful people with an astounding history. Thank you for taking me back there after 14 years! and reminding me to stop and be grateful to have a wonderful husband and three sons ❤️

    • My pleasure, Jenny! I’m so happy that you were able to visit Arizona and to learn about the American Indians. Hold those memories close to your heart always! What wonderful stories you have to share with your three sons! We must count our blessings out loud every day! Wishing you a wonderful start to the Christmas season, Jenny! Thank you so much for visiting today. ♡

    • Many thanks, Mona! It was an experience that I will always treasure. Even months later, the sounds, colors, and traditions of the Pow Wow still hold a special place in my heart. We are hoping to visit another Pow Wow one day to learn even more about this very special and honored tradition.

      Thank you so much for visiting today! Your photos of the wildlife of India on your site are just gorgeous. It is so important to protect our wildlife, as we learn about them. The wildlife parks in India must be paradise for nature photographers! Sending warm, sunny wishes, Mona! ♡

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