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News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor

Letter: Ceremony carries on healing

The Columbian
Published: April 28, 2014, 5:00pm

I’m so glad The Columbian captured the spirit of Chief Redheart’s band of the Nez Perce during their annual visit to Fort Vancouver on April 19. (The April 20 story “Redheart remembrance: Ceremony honors those held captive in Nez Perce War.”)

The ceremony to commemorate the incarceration of their ancestors in the winter of 1877-78 was moving. The camera lens captured not only the beautiful horses, but the Cowlitz Tribe children who danced an Eagle Dance in very wet grass, then sat quietly under umbrellas through the cold and driving rain — weather that gave us an example of what the Nez Perce endured during their imprisonment.

Cowlitz drummers were on hand to welcome the Nez Perce in the brotherhood of tribal people who also have a long history with this military fort. The small dancers are too young to fully understand the depth of pain that stretches across a century, but they did know that drums and the dance of the Eagle are part of an ancient means to heal the wounds of the heart.

Tanna Engdahl


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