Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spirit of the Buffalo


On Saturday January 11th I drove west to International Market World, 1052 U.S. 92, Auburndale, FL., to attend the "Spirit of the Buffalo." It was a long drive through rural Central Florida to find the Market which must be open every weekend. I knew I had arrived when I spotted these tipis from the road. Right before entering the parking lot, I saw a car get rear ended at full speed. The clueless driver must have been texting. I parked in a muddy field and walked through the market towards the Powwow. The market was immense with fruit stalls, antiques and food trucks.

The Spirit of the Buffalo was located in a field next to the market. Admission was $5 for the day. A large circus tent was set up for larger performances. Open pit ovens were set up to cook maze and other foods. I made my way towards the tipis I had seen from the road.  The word tipi comes from the Lakota language and means "a dwelling". I found the only available shade under a large Live Oak and started sketching. There were large electrical poles next to the tipis which I left out after one of the vendors complained about how he wished they weren't there. He was right. The sketch looks much better with the poles erased. The same vendor complained about the brown tipi to the right. It was made by a pale skinned hobbyist with no regard to the actual materials used, a "weekend warrior" is how he referred to him.

That hobbyist was 'Tipi Tom' who also stopped over to see my sketch. He has been making tipis since he was a kid and he loves attending these powwows. His dog, a basset hound named Scooby barked to greet anyone who got close to the encampment. Tom is now a grandfather to eight month old Joseph who he hopes will inherit his love of Indian traditions. A sign on one of the tipi's indicated that the Lakota tribe once lived in these structures.

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