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When native Americans come together to participate in the rituals and celebrations that have been handed down for generations, they call it dancing their ancestors. It’s a time to remember and reconnect with the people and struggles of the past and to lay claim to their own place in that line. It is a time when the old stories are told and the old ways are revisited. A time when people can remember their deepest held values and celebrate them.

     With the 4th of July almost upon us, I had just returned from a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. To the best of my knowledge I have no family who ever lived in the city but for eight days I was happily dancing with my ancestors. I stood in the streets when a messenger on horseback brought the news of the fighting at Lexington and Concord. I had an audience with Patrick Henry and was able to get insightful answers to some long held questions from Thomas Jefferson. I was there at the Capitol when the Declaration of Independence was read aloud and discussed it’s meaning with both merchants and slaves. When the British declared martial law, instead of yelling “God Save The King” I yelled “God save George Washington” and a Tory in the crowd upbraided me for it. I joined the Colonial Army and in the confusion of an attack failed in my duty to grab up the regimental colors when the flag bearer was killed.

    On the day in 1776 when the final vote was cast for Independence John Adams wrote this to his wife Abigail:







 “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews (shows), Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. 

      You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

  And so the Fourth of July continues to be observed much as it was predicted by Adams 232 years ago. I hope you had a wonderful 4th, and while you were celebrating took a moment to look around and see that we are part of that great line of Liberty. As long as we remember the stories, the people and the meaning of Independence Day, the celebration continues and the dance with our ancestors goes on.








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