This is regards to my last post on the DNA board

Searching for Saponitown Forums Indian Country Issues This is regards to my last post on the DNA board

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    The DNA Board is not a discussion for this topic re: featehrs pow wows ect.

    But I wanted to add this;

    Pow Wows are not just a FUN thing, it is a gathering of my people, I did not take an Oath of Sobriety, because it was fun, I took that oath for my self, my Ancestors, the youth, the Elders, our Parents, the brothers and sisters on this board, and because I fight for Indian rights, sing on a traditional drum and compose my self as a traditional woman, I am in NO way better than anyone else.

    I dont carry a tribal card, but this is not a game to me this is my life. I commit my life to the people. And when someone wants to educate me on why Turkey is sacred then I am all for it! I want to make sure it is Turkey we are talking here, I had a friend who is Cherokee and he had all Hawk feathers for his bussle, some people get the 2 mixed up.

    I am more than happy to talk about this, I am no expert of Saponi tradition, or any tradition, I just follow what I have been taught by Lakota, Ojibe and Oddawa.



    This part I posted on DNA post in case Collins doesn’t come over here.

    Collins says>>>> The thing is that Eastern tribes needs to seperate off and do their own Pow-wows in their own customs and traditions if the Plains people don’t want us there.

    My point exactly. “Real” ndns don’t use turkey and goose BECAUSE they were used by the eastern tribes……. and we all KNOW there are no real ndns east of the mississippi.

    peace, my brother

    btw…… I will continue to wear a single turkey feather straight up centered in the back of my fedora 😉

    Mrs. Patino, I appreciate your youth and enthusiasm. Having lived in NC all my 53 years on the same land that has been in my euro-family’s hands for 250 years, and they married the people they found here. …..Wakan tanka jesus only knows how long they had been here. ….. we have always lived with wild turkeys and find them to be quite majestic and tasty. Not sacred…… nowhere in my post did I inter or imply or declare that the turkey is a sacred bird. If a turkey feather drops, no big deal…. turkeys drop them all the time.



    DH this is what you wrote which led me to believe that you were implying that Turkeys were sacred.

    It is my understanding that the eastern tribes, especially Saponi, traditionally wore turkey feathers. It was an indigenous and much honored bird in the east. But I understand that from what you are saying, western full bloods who follow a traditional custom started in the 20th century for the entertainment of whites will look down on me if I wear the feathers that my people have worn for 1000s of years? I never could figure out ndn politics and red racism. I’m not trying to confront you, just trying to understand.

    All I am trying to Understand is who what when why and how did Turkey become sacred, educate me…

    And I am sorry if you think that I put on my ragalia and my feathers for the entertainment of it, you are sadley mistaken, and you have never seen me sing a prayer song and you have never seen me stand when that feather has dropped, show respect to my veterans ect…, I sing and I dance and I pray for the people with the tools Creator gave our people.

    And if you read my post carefully, I have been all over turtle island and have never heard of turkey feathers being sacred, that is why I want to know what their significance is and why they are sacred please tell me, because as far as I know everyone here is still Saponi or native of some affiliation, someone must have an explanation for me if I am wrong and asking for a correction dont just tell me your ancestors wore them for thousands of years and they were tastey. And we are not talking about the feather people wear in their fedora to church on sunday, or are we?

    Oh and I dont know why it was said that the eastern tribes should seperate them selves, is that our eastern people want, to be seperated from their indegenous family, so that we can further seperate from our people of all turtle island nations? That makes me want to cry, Maybe the plains people want us there but cant understand why Saponi people are using turkey feathers, when they know they never used them. has anyone thought about it that way? has anyone ever flipped the coin. Maybe they dont understand and they are like me asking for an explanation.



    Ms Patino, I am sorry that I thought you were mature enough to discuss the truth. If others join the discussion, I will continue and you may read and perhaps understand. You have defensively twisted everything that I have said from the beginning of this discussion. I purposely gave my age to see if you had any respect for your elders (little “e”) You have read but not heard what I have said. You continue to play 20th century traditional and I will continue to wear my fedora as I trek the woods finding the ancestors. You have no idea of the truth, dearheart. I am done.



    DH, … please excuse my enthusiastic curiosity, i did not intend to come off offensive or defensive, nor was it my intent to “twist” anywords or statements.

    I thought that from your previous posts there was something that I needed to learn, some teaching that I was not privy to , or some tradition that i have not yet learned. I am not immature to this discussion or close minded to the the possiblity of being wrong. I am eager, at the opportunity to learn new teachings.

    As far as respecting my “e” elders, that as with all people is not a given, or automatically assumed privalege. your age alone and the trials and suffering you may have gone through in life is respectable but we have not sat around a sacred fire and prayed, talked, or shared stories and teachings. myElders are medicine men who run ceremonies, head men of nations in my area, aunties that talk to me of spirituality, (I)tlatoani’s(/I) (great speakers – mexica) that keep oral traditions thousands of years old, and Elders that bring teachings and messages to the young people to make new warriors, male and female, aunties that fight large corporate monsters to keep them off our indigenous land and waters. these are my Elders they are my teachers, aunties and uncles, who have put themselves in danger to protect teachings and lead by example. Aunti Linda is the only one I have shared these things with here, and that is why she has earned the title as Auntie from me.

    You have my respect for your years on this great mother earth, I thank you for being a part of this community and i look forward to “hearing” what you have to say.




    The main point I was trying to make about Eastern Peoples seperating out to form their own Pow-wow circles is based on the fact that the contest rules dictate a Plains traditional style dress and dance. This is a wonderful thing for our brothers to do. It helps to keep their traditions alive.

    The flip side to this; the dress and customs and dances of Eastern Woodland peoples tends to get made fun of out of ignorance. They just don’t know and that is why I chimmed in when the subject came up. I am not saying that Eastern Native People should shun or distance themselves from others tribes just that if there is some kind of negative experience associated with going to certain Pow-wows then perhaps those persons should try and organize something that speaks to their traditions or go ahead and attend with the idea of educating.

    Although the Saponi and other Eastern Souian tribes share relatedness, language roots, and some customs and traditions the Saponi were a distinct people. We parted with our brothers back around 1200 AD so alot of time passed since we were all together. The Plains people developed based more on the hunt for Buffalo and the lifestyles that were more adapted to the high plains, while our people hunted buffalo too (woodland buffalo), the Saponi’s main stay were the deer and turkey in the hunt and more sedentary agriculture. We used terracing systems to irregate our crops much like our South American brothers in Peru. The Saponi share some common souian traits, language roots, designs and customs but they do vary and have a seperate woodland culture.

    On the issue of sacred birds, of coarse the turkey is sacred. All creation is sacred. Does the eagle have a higher significant place in ceromony? Perhaps to some degree yes. For the Saponi they held that the hawk was highly sacred and a guide for their nation. The turkey and the deer sustained our people so you see the relationship between the deer and turkey and us is a pretty significant one. They kept our people alive. One of the main reason that our people burned the woods was to make meadows for the turkey and deer to have a resource for food like acorns, berries etc. Turkey bones were used to make flutes, clothing, to apply pacoon paints, they even sometimes would make sacred pouches by tanning turkey hide which is not very easy to accomplish. Turkey feathers were used in dance ceremonies and in healing ceramony. I am not saying that the use of turkey feathers was more highly asteemed than the use of other feathers such as hawk or eagle, but the turkey did play a significant role amoung Eastern tribes.

    You may be surprised to find out also that Saponi women used to make skirts out of woven possom hair. There is so much documentation out there that I would suggest, if you have the time, to research it and verify what I am saying for yourself. The thing is that for my family alot of these things were just understood the comformation through documents and written histories came later.

    I am in no way saying throw out what you have learned from others or those particular traditions. They have meaning and purpose. They sustain you through your troubles and tribulations. That is what you were meant to do or you wouldn’t be doing it.

    On the goose feather thing I have no clue about that one, but I do know that our people used duck feather and that the duck was significant to a degree as well as the woodpecker. All our animal brothers have a special sacredness and medicine that is uniquely theirs. I know that the Massachusett peoples used swan and duck in there dress and ceremony in the past, but I do not know if they still do or not.

    Any medicine person will tell you much the same thing it just that for each person or even group there may be a certain animal or group of animals that speaks to them more.

    One problem that I have noticed is that some Plains people, in the past have got very upset at the exapropriation of their particular customs and that for me is saying don’t do it for myself and myself alone. In my case I have alot of tradition to lean on that in the past I never really saw because it was so close to me. The pastuer is always greener type thing. (for me) In my journey I have learned that it is not about others acceptence of my peoples traditons its for me more about the connection to Spirit and whether or not that connection is real for me. We all must find our connection.

    I stopped going to Pow-wows a long time ago because for me the venue was too public. I didn’t feel comfortable in the DFW Pow-wow circuits. That may be a regional thing I don’t know. I just know that I wasn’t comfortable and that the dances were very sacred and I didn’t feel that these things were getting the reverence they deserved. I don’t feel it should be a specticle like oputting on a show and the DFW Pow-wows tend to go that direction, kind of like going to a football/baseball game or something. That is alot of I’s and me’s but I am just trying to explain my experiences for perspective.



    Thank you for sending me these links, I learned that many tribes in the east wore fowl feathers, I was reminded that there is a bird clan to the Cherokee, that Owl is part of their creation story. I also saw the that Turkey feathers were definetley used for cloaks, but I did not see a teaching as to why turkey is used so significantly, is there an old story of turkey to the Cherokee people or another SE tribe? I like the old stories because I feel it establishes, time, foundation and history.

    Also what I see very interesting is that the Mexica also were known to wear feather capes/cloaks these feathers were Mcaw and quezal birds and the significance of the feathers had to to with the cosmos (jaguar was also used), and each color had a meaning and connection to the creator, was this the same for the eastern tribes, was there a significance of that feather to a specific prayer, story, idea?

    I would like to use the significants of the turkey cloak as a paralelle to what the Mexica also wore, in teaching others here I think solidarity of parelleling these tribes as both using feathers as cloaks will also help, which really isnt that far off because I have seen evidence of the Cherokee actually having some contact with the Mexica.



    Thank you collins,

    that is a little more for what I am looking for, Why do you think it is, that other nations have tried to establish a mockery of using turkey feathers, do you think it is because, vendors have sold them for money (selling our faith)(equating them as insignificant as Blue chicken feathers in a toy war bonet), do you think it is because other tribes are so tired of people stealing Native ways and throwing up $50 sweat lodges and passing them off as authentic? Do you think it is a simple as, the South East Brothers and Sisters not explaining to the other nations why this is an importantant and significant bird to them? Each region is Uniqely different tribaly, I think if the other regional tribes understand the significants of feathers like these… more clearley:

    Ignorance can only be stopped by education. I really want to do some more research myself, on the seperation of the Saponi and the Plains people, did we move here from the plains or Vice versa, I am thinking that some of this is do to an old seperation of our people, as we adapt to our surroundings.

    There is alot in this one topic to be looked into and learned.

    But I am happy because this helps me change what I have been influenced by here, and helps me gain knowledge to dispell any ignorance that I may hear here, I was tottally unaware, of some of this, but it has cleared somethings up for me.

    I think here because there are wild turkey every where and the fact that they were not used spiritually is hard for Anishenabe to understand why others would use the turkey.


    Saponi 1

    Cristina, Dreaminghawk and others,

    I have read with interest comments about feathers, drumming and singing. I will only add a few comments. I attended my first pow-wow well over 26 years ago at Fort Peck in Montana, however I started dancing in earnest under 10 tens years ago. I understand both perspectives. I was at the Pow-Wow in Washington, D.C. for the NAMI two weeks ago and a fellow Southeastern indian remarked that we are always overshadowed by the plains indians. She remarked it would be nice if they featured south eastern indians. I remarked simply that all things being equal it would be nice however, in most cases what would we high-light other than representations of the plains dances? Or less than accurate presentations in regalia and dance. I have yet to see a black regalia on any plains traditional woman. Nor have I seen a combination men’s fancy/traditional regalia. I have only seen one child under 8 years of age that not only gourd danced, hoop danced, traditional danced, grass danced sang/drummed –where else but in the Southeast of course. I do believe we have traditions in the southeast–yet we have lost so much we take license, and when challenged some become defensive. Perhaps we either need to earnestly try to learn from tribes with traditions in tact, revitalize our own or do as in the article below–establish protocal and standards….because this is what you will find most tribes complain about with regard to the East Coast–not just the South East.

    Honestly, one of the reasons I seldom sing with a drum any more is because several of the drums had too many women back up singers, and because we really did not know how to sing traditionally we sounded more like a choir…and trust me there is a difference in the sound. I am out of practice these days so I have lapsed back into the ‘choir sound’ a bit…it’s not coming from my throat…I need practice–but the point I am trying to make is

    we must do things in a good way.

    I usually refrain from commenting on many of these issues but this thread struck a cord with me. Because along with this whole strain comes the use of Indian names–why, oh why must so many of the names contain Eagle, Bear, Buffalo usually preceded by White? You know, Dog Shot in the Belly was an indian name.

    So was White Man Runs Him, Comes Out Holy etc.

    Another issue that rankles my nerves is everyone that feels they must ‘become’ a spiritual person or otherwise annoit themselves with some title that they then publicize. Spirituality also known as Medicine is not discussed publicly, nor displayed. I am personally offended when someone approaches me to tell me they attended Sundance–that is a personal thing, it does not make a person more indian, or more spiritual to share this information.

    Sometimes we end up sounding like walking advertisements for the New-agers by using language that really reflects attitudes that have nothing to do with indians–‘Power Animals,” “Crystals” –that is all new age.

    My best advice has always been to sit back, watch, look and listen. That is the indian way. If you do not know-don’t make it up. Additionally, if you truly want to understand pow-wows–do not attend the same ones all the time. Get out go listen to different drums, watch different dancers. But the key is watch.–too many peopel jump in, develop a comfort zone and never leave, never learn, never evolve. That’s where you get the purple, pink, and green feathers (and I don’t mean in a man’s fancy dance regalia, black regalia, and other behavior that ends up being labeled in terms that gets people hankles up.

    I hope I did not offend anyone. But it was a great topic that reallly should be expanded.

    The take away from this should be to realize that we do have a certain protocal since most tribes are sharing dances, songs and regalia’s learn them, honor them in a good way.

    In reading the article below you will see that even the plains indians had lost much–so they convened a pow-wow to discuss these things and to share. Many of the pow-wow traditions we see today originated with this historic pow-wow in Oklahoma.

    Perhaps in the southeast it would we would be best served by using some examples from history:

    Moving History: The Evolution of the Powwow

    “Powwows are a celebration of being Indian!”

    By Dennis W. Zotigh

    Powwows celebrate being Indian. These events inspire cultural and personal pride in American Indians. They allow Indian tribes, families, and individuals to come together for the purpose of feasting, hearing their languages spoken, exchanging arts and crafts, singing, dancing, and upholding tribal customs. Because the powwow is a recent Indian phenomenon, it should be emphasized that an Indian cannot be considered traditional simply because he or she attends powwows.

    The term “powwow” derives from an Algonquian Indian word “pau wau,” which means “he dreams.” In this definition, “pau wau” had a personal, reverent, religious significance. Contrasting this definition, the contemporary powwow is open to the public and is a group-oriented social event.

    The concept of powwow originated among the tribes who inhabited the Great Plains from the southern prairies of Canada to the lower plains of Texas. In the pre-reservation era, many Plains tribes formed inter-tribal alliances. These alliances allowed tribal-specific songs, dances, and ceremonies to be exchanged. This is the historical foundation for today’s “intertribal powwow.”

    The first legitimate intertribal powwow in Oklahoma was the Ponca Powwow. It began in northern Indian Territory around 1879. Indian Territory was truly inter-tribal as approximately 67 tribes have been historically associated with lands that became Oklahoma. Many tribes’ members traveled by horse as far as one hundred miles to participate in inter-tribal singing and dancing at the Ponca event. These tribes included the Omaha, Ponca, Kaw, Osage, Pawnee, and Otoe-Missouria. The “heluska” or men’s warrior dances dominated the early Ponca Powwows.

    Into the early 1900s the Plains Indians’ lifestyles were rapidly deteriorating as the peoples’ spirits had been broken. During World War I American Indians enlisted in the armed forces, and members of Indian tribes that were once mortal enemies fought side by side to defend the United States. At their homecoming most veterans laid their tribal differences aside to dance with their comrades to a common drumbeat. The American flag, once a symbol of the destruction of Indian lives, acquired a new status at twentieth century Indian gatherings. In a renaissance of ancient warrior societies, celebrations began to reemerge to honor veterans as modern-day warriors. Tribal elders who remembered specific tribal protocol contributed their knowledge of conducting ceremonies for Indian servicemen.

    As a result, new procedures, combined with ancient traditions, developed to fit the times. By 1920 the Plains tribes of southwestern Oklahoma held their first inter-tribal powwow at Dietrich Lake. As inter-tribal powwows became more numerous, new songs and organizations were instituted to commemorate contemporary events. By the 1950s the inter-tribal powwow reached the cities as tribal members relocated to find employment. This provided an even greater opportunity for cultural exchange among a wider variety of Indian peoples. Their need to identify with other Indians encouraged them to seek mutual “Indian-ness” in inter-tribal powwows.

    From Alaska to Florida to Southern California to Maine and everywhere in between, wherever there is a pocket of Indians, there are powwows. The powwow circuit is analogous to the professional rodeo, golf and tennis circuits. Following the powwow circuits is a year-round way of life for many Indians.

    The central, most significant, focal point of any powwow is the drum and singers. They provide the musical accompaniment and set the tempo for the dances. Powwow dancing is the most visible part of the powwow. The men’s fancy dance and women’s fancy shawl dance are both recent innovations that began less than a century ago. In addition to these two dances other dance categories include the northern men’s traditional dance, southern men’s straight dance, men’s grass dance, women’s northern/southern traditional dance, and women’s jingle dress dance.

    The powwow has become popular all across North America and has spread into Europe. The event has faced many changes since its inception. Individual tribal identity has become less identifiable in songs, dances, and the regalia that are worn today. As Indian people continue to live with the values of both the modern world and their Indian background, these influences will continue to affect the evolution of the powwow.


    Eshbach, Karl and Applbaum, Kalman , “Who Goes to Powwows? Evidence from the Survey of American Indians and Alaska Natives,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 24 (2000).

    Moore, John H., “How Giveaways and Pow-wows Redistribute the Means of Subsistence:” The Political Economy of North American Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993).

    Powers, William K. , “Powwow,” Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia,” ed.Mary B. Davis (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994).

    Williams, Andrew Wade , “We Are All Warriors Now: Dancing in the Future in the Contemporary Oklahoma Powwow” (B. A. thesis, Harvard University, 1997).

    Zotigh, Dennis W., MOVING HISTORY: The Evolution of the Powwow, Center of the American Indian (1991).

    Dennis Zotigh has participated in the Powwow circuit since he was a child. He is Santee Sioux, San Juan Pueblo, Kiowa, and a member of the staff of the Oklahoma Museum of History.



    Ms Patino, Thank you for a civil reply. Collins did an excellent job of explaining how traditions develop. Every tribe developed unique to its environment, based on available resources. Tribes that lived near waterways honored shells and water birds. Tribes that lived inland honored inland plants and animals…. As Collins said, all things are sacred when you live life in a sacred manner.

    Traditions usually have logical reasons for developing…… the ceremony is added to make it tangibly important. Sometimes, over generations, the original importance is lost and only the tradition remains.

    I originally stated that we WORE turkey feathers, thus the cloaks as proof of the truth of what I said.

    I apologize for asking the loaded question to start with, since I already knew the answer. My comment about red racism was aimed at that attitude, not at you. The reason the recognized tribes look down on turkey and goose feathers IS because of their importance to the eastern tribes. The reason they hate the easterns and mixed bloods is because the migrations that we are discussing at Saponitown is the cause of the displacement of the plains and northern and western tribes in the 1800s. Most do not even know why they hate us… it’s just a tradition ;-). Our ancestors were the first into each new frontier…… the first to mistreat or displace….. the first to kill or be killed by those we were displacing. That is the truth that nobody wants to hear.

    btw….. when dealing with an elder, please learn to err on the side of politeness….. you never know when you might be talking to a big”E” 😉



    Saponi1, thank you for your reply. I would love to see non-competition southeastern powwows start to reflect more of our traditions as they are recovered. I would love to see more Sauratown dresses……. Linda’s shell whirlwind necklace… more turkey feathers 😉 ….. canoe dances…… stomps….

    All of this stuff isn’t lost…….some of it is hiding in musky archives ……. also some is still in our hearts. You said whatever you do, do it because it is a good thing. Well said.


    Saponi 1

    I don’t think Plains Indians hate us. I have seen too many interact with Southeastern tribes positively. I think what they dislike is our interpretation of things. I saw a gentleman in DC a few week ends ago with a well put together full turkey cloak and turbin. I have also seen a woman with an abbreviated versioin of this cloak. When an outfit is well researched, and put together with some rhyme and reason I believe any tribe can respect that. But when you see an outfit that is put together as if the person had little regard for historical accuracy, tradition or even contemporary pow-wow protocal it is difficult. I have seen pow-wows that were once very well attended and a joy to attend that have the very life stiffled out of them by “the over eager to participate” with all kinds of thrown together items, and even thrown together drums, mixed with new age this and that. And before you know it…the pow-wows struggled to survive. I have heard seasoned dancers say they’d rather dance with ‘true hobbyist’ (those that learn the bead work down to the last detail, study the dances etc) than those that come out with no clue…with mystical names, smuding everything that moves and intoning names that are guaranteed to make them ‘sound’ Indian yet really divulge another story. I had a plains indian friend once that was asked what his REAL name was–he replied several times that his name was David (not his real name for privacy) the other person could not believe that his REAL name was not a mystical name that had to do with Bears, Wolves, etc…I’ve gotta quit…I’m not sure many of you will even understand unless you’ve been involved


    lynne pepper

    Thank you friends, for these informative posts.

    As I read from Dreaminghawk, and Collins, and Saponi1….the traditions that have been revived by the western plains Indians, may be a valuable model for the reclaimation of the ways of eastern tribes. It was instructive to realise how short a time ago the west had to do something to keep their traditions alive. Its never too late.

    Thanks again for all the work.




    One of my Uncles who passed a few years ago was along time Anishenabe MC for Pow Wows, and one time (very early on when I was still a young Pow Wow doe) I saw this Cherokee young man (did not know he was Cherokee when I asked)who had on very different regalia than what I was usedto seeing here, so I asked Uncle what the heck he was wearing, and Uncle squashed my attitude and told me that it was very well researched Cherokee regalia. The things is Uncle never yelled at me, he simply corrected me. I am talking about these things because I want to be apart of what we are trying to reestablish.

    Like I love Auntie Lindas Idea of turning the campout into ceremony, I want to sit down and talk to everyone about these issues, and we should, talk about them, We are trying to reclaim who we are here right? Everyone has brought up good points, lets talk about them, and I dont mind keeping it private if someone wants to PM me. But we are a community and much of this should be shared, evenif the topics can be painful, sometime it is painful.

    I think I like what you said the best DH in a simple line earlier; “some is still in our hearts”

    We all have different communities we hang around, some hang with predominate Cherokeee, some Seminole, some Lakota and some 😀 Anishenabe ect…. , many of us are, apart of these communities because we have a need to be close to our people, regardless of whos way it is, and we are trying, because our ANcestors want us to, they want us to learn, and quite possibly the other tribes around us carry our traditions. A few months ago I posted some thing re; that the Anisheabe believe we belong to them, not the Lakota and vice versa, and I believe I remember lAuntie Linda saying that some our people went up to six nations. So these are all things we need to take into consideration.

    Oh Saponi 1 you said:

    I have seen pow-wows that were once very well attended and a joy to attend that have the very life stiffled out of them by “the over eager to participate” with all kinds of thrown together items, and even thrown together drums, mixed with new age this and that. And before you know it…the pow-wows struggled to survive.

    This is why the Turkey Feather thing came up for me, because never did I see turkey feathers remotely used in any well put to gether regalia or cloak or any thing, they were half destroyed turkey feathers, with a new agey spin, and some interpretation of wearing war paint, a good deal of hobbyist folks in Michigan, (Creator forgive me) look rediculous and plain and simply mock our culture (unintentionally).

    We dont have folks here who are hobbyist who have well put together regalia here.

    That is why I desperately needed a good explanation for the Feather issue, because i have had a whole different experience. Oh and I think, there is an avenue that can be persued to the significance of what the turkey feather significance is. If anyone is interested in maybe checking it out, The Cherokee Bird Clan families might have an Idea, because each clan has it’s own specialized teaching sometimes, they might know.

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