On Monday, May 1st, Circle of Life Home Care Anishinaabe was honored to take part in the 2017 Native American Day Parade. This was a very special year to participate (it was our 7th year walking in the parade), as this was the first year of the new float competition. The winner of the float competition will have their float featured on the front page of The Circle newspaper, located here in Minneapolis. Very exciting for all involved! That will be one tough decision, as we saw many wonderfully decorated floats-our favorite was a tipi that tied open and closed, a tough feat for a paper tipi! Although the day was overcast and raining, school children, parents, families, and elders alike gathered at Cedar Field in South Minneapolis. This park is very special to the community, as the annual Mother’s Day Pow-wow also takes place in Cedar Field, and the park is located across the street from Little Earth of United Tribes. Spirits were high as community members waited patiently for others to get organized. Speakers from various Native organizations spoke on how much this month of Native American recognition means to them and their mission. Participants were asked to carry a mirror facing upwards so the drone flying overhead could see them, and they would simulate a river flowing. This was part of the “Water is Life” vision being expanded upon by various supporters of the cause. Anishinaabe Academy was there and participated in the organizer’s mirror exercise, which was great as they brought a lot of youngsters with their group. The Elder’s seemed to love getting a chance to visit and small children chased each other around the park, excited by the festive mood.
The Minneapolis Police Department was there to guide us as per usual, shaking hands and joking with community members. We were lucky enough to get pictured with the Chief of Police Janee Harteau and a good number of her police force.
The parade started down 18th Ave. So. and turned west on 24th Street, which we stayed on to Chicago Ave., passing the elder’s housing on 24th and Bloomington-, Indian Health Board and the Somalian Mall, the 24th. The Honor Guard was first, followed by the White Earth float that was carrying the drum group, Redbone. The NoDapl water protector group was next and then it was us - Circle of Life, Anishinaabe!
Groups gathered alongside the road and waved as we went by. Everyone had a smile for us. People were in awe of the Aztec dancers who joined us on the walk. They drew a lot of attention to the group with their drumming as well. Some even followed the parade all the way to the Indian Center, where the parade ended. Once there, the children with Anishinaabe Academy helped serve the Elders the lunch, which was a healthy meal as usual.
All in all, it was a great day and a wonderful experience! We were honored and very thankful to have been a part of the parade!