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(Ask an Indian friend for some “snag jokes.”) The powwow circuit spans the nation, or it did when eastern tribes were able to open casinos where they could put up rich prizes for fancy dancing to attract customers.“Fancy dancing” refers to a style that is ostentatiously non-traditional and so a fancy dance competition can be entered by anybody from any tribal tradition or even from tribes like mine, which did not powwow at all.It was naturally an opportunity to meet young people of the opposite sex, something that could be a very big deal in some tribes with shrinking populations combined with complicated, clan-based incest rules that severely limited dating opportunities.Powwow culture became a thing that lived and grew outside of any particular tribe.That land and the allotments were held in trust by the federal government for the tribe and so were legally “Indian country.” All else was declared “surplus land” and opened for white settlement.Reservations were rural with agricultural economies. There were few big cities in Oklahoma as, come to think of it, there are not all that many today.I understood his feelings and did not criticize them.My closest friendships are from the military and from the civil rights movement, for similar reasons. The movement project that took up the most space in my life was the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, although they were UFWOC when I first saddled up for the fight.
That was my first notice of car buying as a political act.
There was a gas station across the street from my last USAF assignment on the edge of San Antonio, where the guy would refuse to put gas in anything made in Germany, Italy, or Japan.