September 13, 2012
Daisy Gun Hammer recognized and honored at Butte powwow
By B.L. Azure
Daisy Gun Hammer, who attends as many powwows as she can, was honored at the Native American Indian Alliance Powwow this past Saturday in Butte. (B.L. Azure photo)
BUTTE — Indian celebratory powwows have a way of bringing out the best in people. The time immemorial traditional gatherings of the original inhabitants of what is now America also draw some very good people to them. That’s what happened this past weekend at the 38th annual North American Indian Alliance Powwow celebration in the Mining City.
The urban powwow celebration drew hundreds of American Indian folks from throughout the western United States. The celebrants journeyed from as far away as Arizona as well as Washington, Idaho, South Dakota and of course Montana, including several folks from the Flathead Indian Reservation.
In all more than a dozen tribes — including Salish and Pend d’Oreille — were represented at the celebration that drew approximately 1,500 people as spectators and participants.
Among the Flathead delegation was Salish tribal member Diana Daisy Gun Hammer, who goes by her middle name in honor of her grandmother Daisy Hernandez. The 27-year-old Daisy who graduated from Mission High School in 2003 is the daughter of Agnes and the late John Gun Hammer.
Daisy, who is tethered to a wheel chair due to health impediments, doesn’t let her physical limitations diminish her emotional outlook or lower her life’s spiritual horizons and her sojourn to see what’s over the horizon.
On Saturday, the second and final day of the NAIA Powwow, Daisy was honored for her unfettered spirit.
“She danced quite a bit in Butte. The people there, recognized that Daisy was very happy and having a good time,” said her mother, Agnes. “So they honored her Saturday because they care about people like her with physical limitations. They know that life can be difficult for people with handicaps and they know that life can be good for people like Daisy who do the best they can with what life has laid upon her plate.”
The emcee of the powwow called for an honor dance in Daisy’s honor at the Saturday evening session at the Butte Civic Center.
“Her eyes lit up she was so thrilled by the honoring,” Agnes said. “After the dance people came up and hugged her. She got a bunch of hugs. It was real neat that people did that, neat to see. She said, ‘Oh my gosh, oh mom.’ She was so tickled it seemed like everyone in the Civic Center hugged her.”
The powwow participants also donated a nice sum of money to her as an appreciation of Daisy’s courage and positive outlook.
“I felt pretty good with the honoring,” Daisy said. “I just love to dance in the tradition of our tribal culture. I go to a lot of powwows and dance. I love to be a representative of our tribes at the powwows.”
Daisy said she loves to dance along side of her uncle Jimmy Malatare and brother Dakota Gun Hammer.
Daisy addressed the crowd after the honor dance. “She gave them a heartfelt thanks and blessed them,” Agnes said. “It was a good powwow, a good crowd with quite a few people from the Flathead Reservation. It was good for Daisy and I think she was good for the people. It was a blessed time.”
Next stop on Daisy’s dance card is the Helena Indian Alliance Powwow held on the last day of summer and the first day of autumn the weekend after this one.
Dance on big hearted and good spirited tiny dancer.