The festival may be named for Clark, but the pillar – the big sandstone butte along the Yellowstone River east of Billings, Mont. – is named for the son of Sacajawea, the Shoshone guide who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Or, maybe we should say it’s nicknamed “Pompey.” That’s what expedition members called the little boy whose real name was Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. This weekend, Clark Days will feature presentations by authors Barbara Fifer and Ken Thomasma, and Gerard Baker, superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Park. For details, click here.
Baker, a member of the three affiliated tribes – the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara – will deliver a speech Sunday afternoon titled “What Did Clark and the Other Guy Do for Us After 200-plus Years?”
Stop by on Sunday and find out!
P.S. Here’s a factoid about Pompey’s Pillar: In 1873, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer’s troops went swimming in the river there, but scampered out of the water when Indians fired upon them.
It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction that of course Native inmates should be allowed to use tobacco during ceremonies.
But this is prison, after all, and there are all sorts of considerations. For instance, as Nevada Corrections Director Howard Skolnik points out here, other inmates might suddenly develop an interest in certain rituals as a way of getting tobacco, newly banned in the prison system.
But, he says, if tobacco use “wasn’t in their ceremony last month, it isn’t in their ceremony this month.”
And the new Prison Rape Elimination Act – something that’s long been needed – prohibits prisoners from being in a place where they can’t be observed. That would seem to include sweat lodges. But Nevada has sweats in most of its prisons, and Skolnik says he’s working with the Nevada Indian Commission to make sure that can continue.
Retired Brig. Gen. “Bo” Foster was awarded the French Legion of Honor Chevalier last night, apparently only the third Montanan to receive France’s highest award. Foster, 97, received the actual medal from Chantal Davoine-Moser, who represents the French Consulate, at a packed ceremony in Missoula. Read more about it here.
Foster joins Staff Sgt. Frank Stoltz of Miles City and Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, a Crow tribal historian, who received their Chevalier awards in 2008. According to this account, among Medicine Crow’s battlefield feats was a midnight raid to steal the horses from a battalion of German officers. He told historian Ken Burns that he sang a traditional Crow honor song as he rode off. He also told Burns he had a German soldier by the throat, but released the man when he cried for his mother.
For the last two years, the Montana Baroque Festival has served as a vehicle for a lovely cultural exchange, in which musicians from the festival visit the Flathead Indian Reservation. It makes for an afternoon-long program of music – Vivaldi flute dances alternating with Native flute melodies, drums groups with groups playing recorders.
All the music, no matter the style, “comes from the same place down deep,” says Barbara Christie, who with her husband Henry and four generations of their family performed as part of a drum circle.
Missoulian arts reporter Joe Nickell, who writes about the event here, notes something interesting, namely, that the music by the Native groups reflects a principal of unity, while that of the Baroque musicians involves what are essentially soloists playing together.
Jenna Gitzke, 21, pleaded guilty in a Rapid City, S.D., courthouse yesterday to harassing and attacking Native people in two separate incidents last December. Her co-defendant, Miranda Sheldon, pleaded guilty Tuesday in the same case. Theirs was the first case prosecuted in Pennington County under South Dakota’s hate crimes law.
Pennington County State’s Attorney Glenn Brenner is working with several groups toward an agreement that would require Gitzke and Sheldon to interact with Native people as part of their probation, according to this Rapid City Journal story.
Meanwhile, the paper also reports (here) that Rapid City is holding another in a series of meetings on resolving racial differences. It’s set for tonight. Robert Doody of the South Dakota ACLU chapter will speak, and the grassroots group Society for the Advancement of Native Interests oday will host the potluck dinner.