May 28, 2012

Natives perform at Queen's Jubilee

NMSU professor shows off Native horsemanship to the Queen

By Andi MurphyAn associate professor from New Mexico State University had the moment of a lifetime several weeks ago in England.

"I went to the Windsor Castle with those of us from the pageant to meet the queen," said Donald Pepion, 67, an anthropology professor, via email. "We had tea and crumpets."

Pepion, a Blackfeet Native American originally from Montana, was with 10 other Native Americans from different Plains tribes selected to participate in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant, May 10 -13, on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

It was his first trip to England.

"Although I had many questions about the Native Americans' participation in the Queen of England's Diamond Jubilee Pageant, I was willing take advantage of an opportunity to share Native American culture," Pepion said. "Of course, my underlying passion as a horseman from a Montana ranch background lures me when I am invited to wear my traditional Blackfeet Indian regalia and ride a horse."

Pepion's Blackfeet, or "Pikuini," name is "Iits-sim-mah-kii" or Stabs Down. He wore a traditional white, tanned buckskin suit with hand-beaded trimming and a headdress he earned in 1984 in honor of his leadership role in his tribe. He rode a spotted black, white and gray appaloosa stallion from Wales, while a few other Natives danced on a central stage.
Blackfeet Professor and Ten Other Natives Participate in Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee PageantThe Diamond Jubilee focuses on seven major global regions, showcasing the culture from Great Britain (obviously), the Americas, ‘Australasia,’ Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The Americas portion included the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Inuits who performed a demonstration of throat singing, drum dancing, and “the recreation of a polar bear hunt,” according to the language on the Jubilee’s site. And finally, they hosted “Native Americans, Cowboys and the Macfarlane Stagecoach, a representation of the American West of the mid 1800s including an authentic American stagecoach.”Comment:  I'm glad they said Pepion earned his headdress. Otherwise I'd be wondering why a professor was wearing one.

I hope the Indians weren't chasing the stagecoach on horseback. That would be stereotypical.

For more on British royalty, see Prince Charles Meets Canadian Natives and Royals Meet Aboriginals.

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