An hour and a half ago, I sat down to write this week's blog. I had a vague idea for a topic, but then 90 minutes had passed and I'd learned fascinating things, none of which had to do with that subject at all.
It's an occupational and a personal hazard. I work, for the most part, in some level of isolation and rely on the nifty network of online stuff for my research in nearly every facet of my professional life. So my likelihood of finding interesting tidbits is rather high.
Then there's the fact that I'm naturally incredibly curious and something of a knowledge sponge. Anything related to people, in fact, catches my attention. So my likelihood of finding tidbits interesting is also rather high.
And I'm likely to remember whatever bits of info I find, which leads to my friends asking, "How do you know this stuff?" often and in exasperated tones.
When I'm actually researching something, this willingness to follow a stream of questions comes in quite handy. I learn the coolest things that way. However, when I have to-dos to be done, it's not exactly a great use of time.
So, let me take you along with me on today's journey, just for fun.
As I sat down to write today's post, I happened to be listening to Joe Tohonnie Jr.'s Apache Blessing and Crown Dance Songs. Which made me wonder who Joe Tohonnie Jr. is, for one, and what a crown dance is, for two.
That led to me reading "An Audacious Dancer's Apache-Navajo Mashup--and the Outcry That Followed." Which led me back to wondering what a crown dance is and what exactly Mr. Tohonnie's dancers are doing.
So I watched a Native Media Network clip of the group performing at the New Mexico State Fair. I found a couple of other clips that said they showed crown dances from other Apache tribes--but it was pretty clear within the first couple of seconds that they probably showed traditional ceremonies that are intended to be private, so I clicked off. (Respect. Even when you're not the one holding the camera.) But then I was still left with the question about crown dancers, who represent mountain spirits.
So I read up a bit on the Apache legends of the mountain spirits in articles like this one, and this one and several more that I can't find again right now. But that made me curious about the distinctions between the various Apache tribes and geographies.
So I started at Wikipedia and then looked up some of the tribal websites. Which is when I couldn't remember from which group Geronimo hailed.
So I chased down the picture that the song is based on, along with a very interesting article about the other photos of the day. And then I watched several live videos of Michael Martin Murphey singing "Geronimo's Cadillac," including this one where he explains how the song landed him on the FBI's watch list. Which then took me to this video of the song being performed with acclaimed Native American flutist Gareth Laffely. (Check this out--it's so cool!)
So, of course, I had to look up Gareth Laffely and check out some of his tunes. He is Mi'kmaq and Cree. Mi'kmaq geography and history is somewhat familiar. Cree is less so, but is also synonymous to me with the Northern Cree Singers.
So that reminded me how much I like the Northern Cree drum (in this case, the drum is the group of performers, not the instrument they play), and that led me to this video of them playing for the women's fancy dance at a pow-wow last year.
And that made me miss summer and want a frybread taco. And realize that I have absolutely no idea what my actual blog topic was going to be today.