She's right, of course. How American of me to make gross generalizations about a diverse group of people.
I must admit, I didn't watch the entire program, but I thought the presentation of the various First Nation tribes of Canada was a such a class act on behalf of the organizers. It has not been a easy ride for the First Nation tribes, although certainly a bit easier than the Native Americans here in the USA. If I remember my history correctly, many Native Americans attempted to cross into Canada because they were murdered with far less frequency then in the United States.
Thanks to Sarah Vowell, and her stunning essay, "What I See When I Look at a Twenty Dollar Bill," I have a better understanding of man's inhumanity to man regarding my country and its policies regarding the original inhabitants. It's shameful.
Yet, as I sat in my living room, watching the First Nation tribes, I saw nothing but pride and joy. They wore their traditional clothing and their dance said, "We're here. We endure. We're alive and we're proud."
This old girl got a little emotional, I must admit.
The human spirit is a powerful thing. We, again and again, get knocked down, and we get up again. Although these are the lyrics of the timeless Chumbawamba classic, "Tubthumping," the sentiment remains true. People are resilient, and watching people be defiantly joyful is one of the holiest acts I know.
The National Museum of the American Indian, right on the National Mall, celebrates this pride. It's an absolutely gorgeous building, and it attempts to tell the numerous stories in a respectful and honest fashion. It's almost too much, because it's like trying to do the Museum of Europe, all in one building---so many different languages, traditions, geography, values, and beliefs. It's simply impossible to give anything beyond a basic overview.
What it does do, however, is send a clear statement: Despite it all, we're still here. Despite the Trail of Tears and the bloodshed and the systemic genocide, we're still here. Our light still shines.
Not only is the National Museum of the American Indian spiritually uplifting, it has the best food court on the National Mall. Do not go to the McDonald's in the Air and Space Museum. Do not buy a hot dog from a sidewalk kiosk. Walk to the National Museum of the American Indian, and be prepared for a culinary nirvana.
The Mitsitam Cafe is a food court that serves dishes inspired by Native Foods. For example, from the Northwest Coast menu, one can dine upon Cedar Planked Fire-Roasted Juniper Salmon. Or, if one prefers the South American menu, as I did on my last visit, one can have a Chicken Tamale with Peanut Sauce with Guava Flan for dessert.
This is for the same price as one would pay for a Sabarro Pizza or a Happy Meal.
And, if you have a four-year old boy, The Mitsitam Cafe has something that is perhaps the most awe-inspiring marvel on this earth:
Yes. Holy Flaming Shitballs, yes.
There is a tray machine, where you can watch your tray disappear. It moves! It involves machinery!
No, I am not toying with you. This marvel actually exists, and oh, is it ever glorious!
It took a team of horses to tear Owen away.
There is joy to be found---in an ancient dance, or in a modern food court. Seek it, and it will be found.
And, please---Join Unknown Mami to share your city each Sunday!