Blackfeet Professor and 10 Other Natives Participate in Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Donald Pepion, Blackfeet, an associate professor from New Mexico State University was one of ten American Indians to meet the Queen of England. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant, which ran from May 10-13, was held on the grounds of Windsor Castle and brought thousands of participants from all over the world. As described on the official website, the Diamond Jubilee Pageant "is a major event marking The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in the presence of Her Majesty...over 550 horses and more than 1000 dancers, musicians, and performers from around the world will come together each night in a performance to pay tribute to 60 spectacular years of Her Reign." Pepion not only participated in the event, he had tea and crumpets with the queen.
"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 told the Sun-News. "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."
The 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 Weste of the mid 1800s including an authentic American stagecoach."
The Sun-News reports that 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," the Sun-News reports.
"I believe it is a good idea to share our Native American culture with others around the world. I think it is important, globally, for all people to know that there are many indigenous cultures and peoples in North America long before 1492," Pepion told the Sun-News. "It has always been my quest to raise the consciousness of all peoples regarding the vibrant and living cultures of the indigenous peoples of North America and the United States."
Pepion is a great choice to help raise the consciousness of people in Great Britain, and elsewhere, to the living cultures of indigenous peoples as he's got his masters and doctoral degrees and has been a full-time professor at New Mexico State University for five years.
Pepion got to enjoy having his own consciousness raised as well. He told the Sun-News about enjoying seeing the Masai and Watusi, the Oman horsemen, the Brazilians and their dancing horses, the Indians and Aborigines of Australia, the Hawaiians and the Cook Island people...he was delighted to be a part of a such a culturally rich event.