American Indian Expo - Anadarko, Oklahoma. A clash of cultures.
"Remember our Missing" ceremony in Oklahoma City. This is a silent genocide. Indigenous women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than the national average.
Hanna Harris would have turned 30 on May 5, 2022 had she lived. Instead, thousands of Native Americans observed Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day.
When we talk about the missing Native women, we are not talking about statistics. We are talking about our aunties, our moms, our sisters. We are talking about the center of our world.
A White Mountain, New Mexico, Apache Crown Dancer dances the scared dance tradition. Mountain Spirits taught the Apaches the dance as a means of healing.
Two Fort Sill Apache youths, one blind, the other crippled, were left in a mountain cave after their tribe was attacked. After several days, fearing death, a voice told them to build a fire and then jump over it. The voice said they would be healed and saved. The Fire Dance became the dance of the mountain spirit.
Members of the Kiowa's tribe Black Leggings society at the annual Veterans Days ceremony.
During a battle, Kiowa warriors often set fires around their enemies. Their legs turned black as they walked through the smoke.
A list of the war dead is seen on the side of a tipi during the Veterans' Day ceremony.
A member of the Cheyenne Arapaho tribe observes a moment of silence during the Massacre Memorial Ceremony to honor Indian killed by General Custer, as he made his way to the Little Big Horn battle.
Cheyenne Arapaho reburial ceremony.
After a battle, military doctors collected specimens for study. After almost a hundred years, the U.S. government returned the bodies for reburial on trial lands.
Built in1903, the Concho Indian Boarding School served the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. Many of them never went home.
The spirits of generations of children, many unnamed, are buried on the grounds of boarding schools, lost and endlessly traveling the earth in search of peach. According to traditional beliefs, spirits of the dead require certain ceremonies in order to put to rest.
Oklahoma - which had the most indigenous boarding schools - 79 schools.
"Sometimes we hear the voices of children playing there"
Miccosukee alligator wrestler - Florida Everglades.
Buffalo roundup - Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma.
Stickball is considered the oldest team sport in North America. The first recorded game was not until the mid 17th century.
Stickball is the "little brother" to war.
Traditional stickball games were, sometimes, major events that could last days with up to 1000 men from opposing villages playing.
The White Mountain Apache coming-of-age ceremony, The Sunrise Dance, is filled with meaning and spirit for a young Apache girl, as she is danced into womanhood.
The Sunrise dance can last four days filled with dancing and the young woman running into the four directions (symbolizing the four stages of life).
The dance was outlawed by the Federal Government for 70 years - like many traditional ceremonies.
The Sunrise ceremony re-enacts the legend of the White Painted Woman who survived the great flood and gave birth to two sons. Her sons kill the Owl Man who had terrorized her tribe. At the return of the sons, the While Painted Woman established a puberty rite to be given to all daughters born to the people.
Once the ceremonies begin, the girl is guided by the medicine man and her sponsor - a godmother who is spiritually strong.
The girl is massaged into womanhood by her sponsor to "mold her" into Changing woman or White Painted Woman.
The girl is covered with a mixture of clay and corn meal that cannot be washed off during the ceremony. This is test of mental strength.
During the last day of the ceremony, she blesses her people with pollen as well getting in touch with her healing powers.
The Pima Reservation, south of Phoenix, has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Nearly half the adults have diabetes.
The Pimas represent the extreme of an epidemic sweeping Indian communities. About 9% of American Indians have diabetes - three times higher the rate for white people.
It is not uncommon to find diabetes in three year old children.
In the past Indians were poked and prodded in pursuit of a cause.
In recent years the focus began to shift from treating the sick and burying the dead to trying to prevent diabetes.
Educators are teaching the basics of healthy living - if they are healthy and eat right, they live longer.
"Imagine if your mom had diabetes, your dad had diabetes, your grandparents had diabetes".
Researchers report that people became heavier. Their bodies adapted to store fat. And they became fat.
Another factor is the shift in diet that occurred after World War II with the onset of government commodity programs and fast foods. Traditional foods such as home grown squash and corn were replaced with fried and processed foods high in sugar and fat.
By the mid 1980s, researchers suspected diet and exercise could help to prevent diabetes. .
For the first time, there was evidence that changing lifestyle is an effective means of prevention. To some diabetes is a bigger problem than cigarettes, killing more people.
"My sister lived big, ate big and died big"