I was recently honored to celebrate White Mountain Apache Day at historical Fort Apache in North East Arizona. I was given a traditional Camp Dress to wear and joined in the celebration which included cooking Ash bread, storytelling, singing songs, a women’s dress competition, watching Crown Dancers and eating fry bread for the first time. I was also given a beautiful homemade burden basket, which is used for gathering berries and wild foods.
The White Mountain Apache is a proud and powerful group of people who have a lot to teach us in ways of the world and in the ways of nature. Everything has meaning and purpose. Somehow in the west, we have lost our roots and inner connectedness with the land, plants, and animals that share our earth. The White Mountain Apache have never forgotten this.
The day was a celebration of White Mountain Apache tribal life. As the day came to an end, I left with an appreciation for tradition and for people who are holders of ancient ways.