For our first official work day at the TEJAS Internship, we met at the Community Garden at Herman Brown Park that the students of Furr High School built. I had previously met my peers so I was not as nervous that day. We did not take photographs or footage of what was happening, so we could be present and part of the opening blessing by Chikawa.The indigenous group, Chikawa, were the ones who originally blessed the garden the first year it opened and we were there this year to participate in the blessing once again. I learned about their culture and how everything they do has a meaning, from the way they open their ceremonies to the placement of every item. We started off with the opening of the four directions and I quickly realized that every ‘danza’ had a different meaning. One thing that stood out to me were the rattles (cascabeles) wrapped around their ankles, they come from a tree called Ayoyote. This tree has beautiful yellow flowers whose seeds become the rattles for their ankles. I had previously seen these traditional dances but had never taken part in one. I never knew their purpose, just that I was always drawn to their music and dance. The sound of the rattles and the beat of the loud drum would always give me goosebumps when listening. I realize indigenous groups are really close to the earth, how much they use natural elements and materials all throughout, and the way they dance expresses the deep love for their culture.
First Day of the Internship