Hog Fry a success on many levels

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Hog Fry a success on many levelsMore than 400 people were served at the Second Annual Hog Fry and Pow Wow, put on by the Cherokee Com-munity of Central California Ridgecrest Area. An estimated 1,000 people came to check out the event.

“I appreciate the community’s supporting us and making this happen,” said Organizer and Area Representative Little Deer Durvin. “The teamwork we have in this community is wonderful.”

Among the attractions were representatives who came from the Cherokee Nation’s capital, Tahlequah, Okla. These were Robert Lewis, a renowned storyteller, and Tommy Wildcat, well-known cedar flute player and Cherokee historian. Accompanying them was Catherine Foreman Gray, interpretive supervisor with the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism board.

“We are honored to have these people from the Nation here at our Hog Fry,” said Durvin. “The San Diego Hog Fry only drew about 85 people. Most Hog Fry events draw less than 200 people. We just fed over 400 people, with so many more coming to see what this was about, so Tahlequah is very impressed with us.”

Lewis entertained with Native stories featuring audience participation. Wildcat shared some bits of history. Jerry Grimsley of Ridgecrest played the cedar flute, as did Michael Wildhorse, Paiute. “I’d like to welcome you to my ancestral homeland,” said Wildhorse, who also demonstrated a small Paiute elderberry flute on which he was able to produce warbling and trilling notes despite the flute’s being able to produce only three notes.

Cooks Riley Rose and Russel McCord, assisted by John Steers III and Phillip Morland, cooked up great vats of pork meat and pinto beans in Native style, while Mary Kaulaity and granddaughter Kendra Stacey cooked up fresh frybread from scratch. Potluck contributions provided lots of side dishes for a memorable feast for all to share. The High Desert Stars Cheer team came out, along with Brenda Dawson, owner and advisor, to help serve food and assist with cleanup.

Crafts and activities were provided for children of all ages, who enjoyed making cornhusk dolls and clay medallions.

After lunch, the Pow Wow began with the Grand Entry, Flag Song, Memorial Song and a prayer by Herschel Kaulaity of Bakersfield, in both Cheyenne and English. All veterans present were honored, including Richard Baldwin, 93, who served with the Army Infantry in Italy in World War II, and several military personnel on active duty. Kaulaity gave a brief speech about Natives in the service.

“Native Americans have fought in every American war, even before we were made citizens in 1924,” he said. “The Cheyenne captured the U.S. flag at Little Big Horn — the only nation that ever has captured the American flag.”

After two special dances for the small children, prizes of toys and candy were scattered on the floor for them to scoop up.

Head Man Dancer Jackson Copeland and Head Woman Dancer Heidi Navarro performed and kept the intertribal dances moving. Emcee Bobby Whitebird kept events rolling smoothly. Arena Director Victor Chavez and Spiritual Advisor Herchel Kaulaity made sure proper traditions were followed. The drum group was “Big Medicine.”

Stevanee Carmichael, 14, princess for 2012-13, was crowned, giveaways and honor dances were done and a raffle was held for donated prizes.

A special ceremony presented an eagle feather to Claire Kinnich, who is battling cancer. Princess Stevanee then danced a healing prayer dance, the Jingle Dress dance, for Bill Durvin, who is battling kidney failure. “This is what it’s all about,” said Little Deer Durvin. “All the other things were good and needed to be done, but doing what we can to help Claire and Bill is the biggest reason for this event.”

A long list of volunteers and an even longer list of contributors helped make the event possible. Durvin added that she is looking for a classroom in which to hold classes on Cherokee history and language. If you can help, please call her at 760-382-4096.

The group is already talking about its Third Annual Hog Fry and Pow Wow to be held at about this time next year.

Story First Published: 2012-11-21