One thing that really impressed me, the honor that they show to their Veterans. After the Grand Entry they held a flag ceremony. The Flags that had been flying all day, were flags from Funerals, they were taken down by Veterans..Native and Non Native.. Far Guy helped. The flags were folded and then presented back to the family members..it was a very touching ceremony, I watched and took no photos.
The Flag carriers were all Veterans, I am used to a very uncluttered military uniform. A pony tail would have never been seen, or bells on shiny boots.
The Dancers, although I enjoyed the Jingle Dresses, there were some very young and energetic Fancy Shawl dancers. Fancy Shawl dancers can whirl and twirl wildly til they are dizzy!
There were two women whose Traditional Regalia..(the correct word for their clothing) impressed me. They carry a fringed shawl over one arm and have a awl and knife case on their belt. The Eagle Feather or Eagle Feather Fan that they carry..somehow is held to honor the drums and the beat of the drums.
Just before we left, I was smelling smoke, it was the Spiritual leader doing another ceremony..a healing ceremony..for a gal with cancer and a gal that was seriously injured in a car accident. He shooed the smoke around them with an eagle feather, and mumbled words.. then they took the place of honor in front of the announcers booth while family and friends danced for them. Later Far Guy shared with me what the strange tobacco was..a mixture of tobacco, sweet grass and bear intestines. Why Bear? Someone said ..it pleases the spirits. Earlier in the evening there was a small bird flitting around, it had a problem flying, finally the announcer said " Everyone please leave that bird alone, it might be a spirit bird. " :)