What is it with people and their need to be popular? I mean… is it really that important to have all the right stuff, and say all the right things and do what it takes to be “Popular?” Maybe it has something to do with maintaining the life that kids have been used too… I guess the whole world are Cherokees.
No, I don’t mean the actual Indian Tribe. I’m talking about Indian Princesses. I guess this would be a good place to pause and say I’m totally not gonna get into the whole “Indian Princesses are Evil and Mock Indian Culture” thing. I’m just not going there… I was 8, and I liked it back then.
Now for the life of me I do not remember the name of our Nation. What I DO remember is the Cherokees were the tribe all the other tribes wanted to be. The Chief of the Cherokee Tribe was the Chief of the nation, and got to wear the big Head Dress, and So did his Daughter. When we went to Frost Valley, the Cherokee stayed in the nice, Plush Hayden Lodge, and they had a real wood and Animal Skin Drum, and Walked at the head of the Parade/procession thing that went from the campgrounds to the clearing by the lake where the Annual Nation meeting thing happened… then the Chief of the Cherokee Tribe arrived in a CANOE. The first week I was in the program, I was a Cherokee… but… they weren’t what they were made out to be… a lot of them were much older than me… looked down on me… they had a definite air of superiority about them… they were the best, and they knew it.
The Next Week, My father and I joined a New Tribe… formed up of fathers and Daughters who didn’t fit in with the other Tribes. There were 9 of us, if my memory Serves… 4 fathers, and 5 Daughters… I’m pretty sure that’s right, because I KNOW that one set of siblings was in the original tribe, and I know that we always wound up in one of the ramshackle 10 person “Camp Style” abodes, at Frost Valley…
We were known as the YUMA Tribe, and we didn’t have any of what the Cherokee had. We were at the end of the parade Procession/thingy… We were the outcasts… we were the crazy tribe with the up side down bucket for a drum… and we LIKED IT.
I still remember the faces of each and every Yuma Girl… and most of their first names… I’m terrible with names and it’s been nearly a decade since I aged out of the program, so I dont remember many last names… but I remember houses… and activities… I remember the time in the ramshackle cabin when the fire alarm went off and woke us all up… I remember year we finally rated a Lodge… Snow Lodge, and had Pringles in the Middle of the Night, and redecorated our bucket. And the year after that when we had the cabin partway up the mountain, with the Ping Pong Table, and a Mouse that scared my father. I still have the jingle bell anklets we made… and my headband, with each and every feather I earned… including the pure white one I got for going swimming in the lake, in the fall with some of the other girls. I remember Mary Beth’s Rats, and that Lauren, who’s dad was the first Cheif, was the tallest… and I remember Beth (Not Mary Beth but Beth) and Laura’s (not Lauren’s But Laura’s,) hamster that preferred to run around it’s wheel than in it, and I remember the time Beth and I got stranded in a Rowboat in the Lake… and our fathers had to hook their Kayak to us to get us back to shore. I remember the opening ceremony for the year, each year, at the cornfield, and laughing at the Cherokees who were trying to pop their corn in the fire… sure it worked SOMETIMES, but… it’s still not the right sort of corn to be popping… I remember making a kite out of tissue paper and straws, but only flying it a foot above my head because I couldn’t bear for it to get lost… I remember that each year the first thing the tribe did at Frost Valley was take the Hay Ride, and I remember playing with flashlights on the ceiling in the dark bit at the back of the mess hall, near the foot of the spiral staircase, getting yelled at for trying to climb the cobblestone Pillars inside the Mess, and waiting in line to climb the cobblestone Chimmney of the Mess hall… dubed “Mount Hayden” I never made it to the top… but my father did, and got Soot on his nose, just like you’re sposed to when you sucessfully climb Mount Hayden. To Prove you did it.
But most of all I remember that we were the most rag tag group there… that we weren’t popular… that when we said we were with Yuma, people had no idear what tribe that was… but that we had fun anyway.
I’m also not entirely certain that we even sang the sanctioned song… looking it up on the web it looks like there’s a different song for girls than boys, though I’m pretty sure we just sang the boys song with the pronouns appropriately subbed out… I don’t know if that was just Yuma though, or our whole nation. *Shrigs.*
(To the Tune of Clementine)
Pals Forever, Pals Forever,
That’s our slogan, that our song.
Girls are bolder, dads feel younger,
When they take the girls along.
Mom’s all for it, dads adore it,
And the Girls all think it’s fine.
Pals Forever, Pals Forever,
That’s our slogan, that our sign!
It Should be noted that my Brother as a Cherokee in Indian Guides… and now seeks to be a “popular” person, and generally considers me a looser, at least in public settings… he’s been known to be very nice when his “friends” aren’t around.
So Thank You Yuma!
And now, to Close This Entry, the Closing Song, as I recall it…
(And for the life of me I can’t find any Reference to THIS song in the Official Indian Princesses Literature (So it’s entirely possible that we appropriated it from the Girl Scouts.)
(To the Tune of Taps)
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.