During the last weekend of July, I had the pleasure of once again attending the annual Gagaguwon Pow-wow, held in Oscoda, Michigan by the banks of the beautiful AuSable River. Hosted by the Preservation of Native American Culture (PONAC) each year, it's an event I always make a point to attend, being an avid collector of native jewelry and a staunch supporter of American Indian artists. It was great to see the new traders that were here this year, and even more great to see some familiar faces that I had the opportunity to meet again. So, I spent my weekend absorbed in all the beautiful handmade goods, stuffed my face with signature Indian frybread, listened to moving prayers of thanks, watched dancers in their breathtaking regalia, and walked away with, not one, but a few new pieces of jewelry. As a result, I'm not allowed to treat myself to anything for a few good months, but oh well!! I probably can speak for a lot of collectors in saying that if you find something that you just know is for you, it's a good idea to grab it, because once it's gone, it's gone, and there'll never be another like it.
I started collecting only about two years ago, but it's growing slowly and surely, thanks to the artists and other wearers who help me along in what to look for in terms of craftsmanship and authenticity. I learn something new with each piece, and that's a major part of the beauty and thrill of it. Southwest Art magazine's current issue is the 2008 annual which devotes itself entirely to contemporary Native American art, and it's the best one I've seen yet. Check it out here. You can also visit PONAC's official website here, as well. Hats off to this organization for all they do! Migwich (thank you)!