A small group of Spokane Tribal members gathered at the Lincoln Center near downtown Spokane, in preparation for the annual Lilac Parade. The Wellpinit ROTC carried the flags while a small handful of us dressed in traditional regalia.
Then we waited for over two hours in the staging area, until the parade organizers finally gave us the green light. On that level, it was exhausting before it even began.
As we marched across the Spokane River, the mood lifted, and I joked that the tribe had come to re-claim the city. A blinding light shone ahead of us and video cameras hovered overhead. A television announcer declared that the Spokane Tribe had come to welcome everyone to our ancestral homeland. True enough. Some people cheered, and others rose to their feet in respect. Rows of children called out for "High Fives" along the entire parade route.
It really was quite moving.
But the best admiration of all came from my own children. They waited in the audience until we made our turn onto their street. When they saw me, the children broke free of the crowd and ran into the street to meet me. All three of them threw their arms around me.
Yes, it was all quite beautiful.