I Know Why a Rain Dance Won’t End The Drought | Religion Dispatches

As of the middle of July, more than half the country is in the grips of one of the worst droughts in decades. 1300 counties across the United States are already declared disaster areas and water rationing of some kind is in effect in cities from Indianapolis to the far west.

The biggest fire in Arizona history is slowly burning itself out and Colorado has seen fires devastate the fringes of urban areas south of Denver.

The American consumer is looking at higher prices as corn crops across the Midwest are dying in the fields. This is the context in which Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently said: “I get on my knees every day… and I’m saying an extra prayer now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”

As an American Indian all my life I have been cursed with the myth of the “Indian rain dance.” I am here to say there is no such thing. Not in my Potawatomi tribe or in any other tribe across the Americas.

My great-grandfather Mose Bruno was well-known down in Oklahoma as someone who could more often than not successfully predict the weather. But as far as I know he had no song or dance that could change it.

I should add a caveat—a family secret as it were. Whenever we have our ceremonies, conducted in a rather leaky round house, and a storm is coming our way? One of my relatives will bury an ax in the fork of a tree in the direction of the bad weather to split the storm. As often as not it works and I must say I, along with my kinfolks, believe it works.

If the ax in the fork of a tree does not work, it is because it was not planted in the right tree, or it was planted too late, but never do we question the ritual of planting an ax in the fork of a tree to split the storm.

And that’s the key to understanding rain ceremonies of some Indian nations, especially those most often cited as doing “rain dances,” the tribes in the arid Southwest.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: I Know Why a Rain Dance Won’t End The Drought | Religion Dispatches.

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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