It's almost too difficult to write about my experience with the Ecuador Youth Leadership Exchange. One amazing thing will happen, and before I can think of how to describe it, something else come along that is equally incredible.
The youth participated in the WSU Powwow at Pullman and performed a special exhibition dance expressing the indigenous history of Ecuador. In addition, they also danced in the Grand Entry where three were chosen to bear the flags of Ecuador and the Andes.
Writing my observation of these events seems cold and distant, but having lived them, I feel unbelievably fortunate.
This powwow presented me with the first opportunity to dress in my regalia since the winter season officially ended. One by one, the kids posed for pictures with me.
Hall Creek Drum from Inchelium, Washington graciously allowed the youth to sit around the drum during their songs, despite the fact they had never met each other before. Dancing Horses Drum also allowed the youth to participate.
Valentina went from drum to drum, introducing herself and making friends. By the end, she sang at three or four drums in total. She also made many important contacts with cultural leaders from the Native community.
Like most of the youth, Mayumi comes from an indigenous community in Ecuador. In spite of obvious linguistic differences, the cultural similarities between North America and South America amaze me.
Alex proudly wore the flag from his school as he danced.