Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lilac Parade

francis002, originally uploaded by sulustumoses.

francis001, originally uploaded by sulustumoses.

parade002, originally uploaded by sulustumoses.

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.


Jennifer Chronicles ( said...

what a great name for a parade. why is it called that?

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

Actually, I think it's officially called the Lilac Torchlight Parade. Of course, it derives its Torchlight portion of the name because the parade happens at night. It's called the Lilac parade because Spokane is known as the Lilac City, just like Seattle is the Emerald City and Portland is the Rose City.

Lilacs were introduced to the Spokane area in the early 20th century and have since flourished (according to Wikipedia), hence the name. Actually, I DO recall that Lilacs were quite abundant when I was a child, but I've seen less and less of them as I've grown older. We have lilacs in my yard, but it's been so cold this year that they haven't bloomed yet.

So there's the story.

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...


I stand corrected.

When I looked up the true history of the parade, I found that the parade fits into a larger celebration known as the Spokane Lilac Festival. The parade is officially called the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade (that might explain the heavy military presence, alongside the floats).

However, everyone still calls it the Lilac Parade.

The history can be seen here:

Krystal said...

I think it's great that you are keeping your heritage alive for your family and tribe. I love all of the traditional dress.

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

Thanks Krystal.

Me said...

Barry, your love for your heritage is truly inspirational to me. And your speak, it reaches down somewhere deep inside of me.


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