Celebrating our Resiliency by Earth-Feather Sovereign
Native American Indian Tribes are Not Independent in the United States. Native American Indian Tribes are Domestic Dependent Nations in a Nation. Even so, we still maintain our Sovereignty.
The 4th of July during the 1880s, when the U.S. government developed what has come to be called the Religious Crimes Code of Indian Offenses that prohibited American Indian ceremonial life. The code banned Indian dances and feasts, disrupted religious practices, and destroyed or confiscated sacred objects, under threat of imprisonment and the withholding of treaty rations. For years until the American religious Freedom Act of 1978, Indian spiritual ceremonies were held in secret or ceased to exist.
In response to this policy of cultural and religious suppression, some tribes saw an opportunity during the 4th of July a chance to continue their ceremonies. Indian superintendents and agents justified allowing reservations to conduct ceremonies on the 4th as a way for Indians to learn patriotism to the United States and to celebrate the country's ideals.
The Colville Confederated Tribes Nespelem celebration was originally a defiant ruse by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce band. He had returned from Oklahoma, where he saw the first powwows. The Army banned any tribal meetings and gatherings at Colville. So the people came up with the idea of fooling the United States into thinking we were celebrating America’s holiday. It worked! It’s been held ever since, but now it’s the week after the 4th of July.
That history is why a disproportionate number of American Indian tribal gatherings take place on or near the 4th of July and are often the social highlights of the year, in celebration of our continued Resiliency, Traditions, Ceremonies, and that we are Relentlessly STILL HERE!
Earth-Feather Sovereign, is a member of the Okanogan and Sanpoil bands of the Colville Confederated Tribes, in the State of Washington. Sovereign is an inspired poet and writer. Sovereign is on the board of directors of Help Assaulted Women and Kids (H.A.W.K.). Sovereign is a sexual assault and domestic violence advocate. Sovereign is striving to obtain her degree in Business Management and Tribal Governance and has received her certificate in Cultural Resource Management. Sovereign envisions of becoming a civil rights attorney, so she could continue to protect, advocate, and help Our Indigenous People in continued Sovereignty over their inherent rights and self-worth. Sovereign is a protector and a supporter of human rights and environmental rights with No Dakota Access Pipeline (NoDAPL), Idle No More, American Indian Movement (AIM), Colville’s for Justice, and is the founder of Indigenous Women’s Warrior Society. Sovereign enjoys being a mother, attending LDS church, participating in traditional ceremonies, cultural activities, attending powwows, and gatherings.