Posts Tagged ‘Apsaalooke’

Scary story by the Associated Press from the Crow Reservation in southern Montana. Fortunately, at least according to early reports, it appears none of the children was seriously injured.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Officials say several third-graders were injured in Crow Agency when a pickup truck hit the float they were riding on before a parade meant to celebrate Native American Week.

Gene Grose, principal of Crow School, says the pickup hit a decorated flatbed carrying about 40 students Thursday morning. Witnesses say they think the pickup was traveling at about 35 mph.

The Billings Gazette reports that four ambulances, along with school buses, took the injured children to a Crow Agency hospital, where Grose says they were treated for minor “bumps and bruises.” It is unclear how many students were injured.

The principal says the parade, along with a feast for parents and a mini-powwow planned for the day were canceled because “there are too many traumatized kids and adults.”

The Bureau of Indian Affairs police department in Crow Agency is investigating.

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CASEY RIFFE/Gazette Staff Riders make their way up Gas Cap Hill at the end of the parade at Crow Fair on Friday. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

CASEY RIFFE/Gazette Staff Riders make their way up Gas Cap Hill at the end of the parade at Crow Fair on Friday. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

There’s a site that lets us know how many people look at Buffalo Post every day. Yesterday, that number was way down, and we think we know why – it’s because everybody’s out having fun at Crow Fair! We wish we were, too. If you’re like us and couldn’t make it, Susan Olp of the Billings Gazette provides everyone with a great vicarious experience, here:

A horse wears a beaded rosette during the parade at Crow Fair on Friday. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

A horse wears a beaded rosette during the parade at Crow Fair on Friday. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

CROW AGENCY — Wandering around Crow Fair, it’s not hard to imagine what an early Crow encampment might have looked like.

Clusters of white canvas tepees are visible as far as the eye can see. Adults talk together, holding babies on their laps, while children run around playing and laughing. And tribal members, young and old, ride by on horses.

But there are a few differences.

Pickups and cars now drive along paved roads. Light-weight nylon tents are scattered among the tepees. Vendors sell pizza, hamburgers, Indian tacos, fresh-squeezed lemonade and tourist trinkets.

If campers run out of food, they can drive to the nearest store. And when the reunion is finished, they go back to life on the reservation or in the city.

Perhaps one of the biggest constants is family. When Crow Fair comes around each August, families gather in the same spots, enjoying a reunion and the opportunity to compete in or watch the powwow, morning parade, rodeo and horse races.

Thousands of Indians gather at the encampment in the middle of town. An equal number of tourists come from as far away as Europe to catch a glimpse of Native life.

On Friday, families set up chairs or just stood watching the first parade of this year’s Crow Fair, which began Thursday and will run through Monday. This is the 92nd edition of the annual summer gathering.

Much of the parade consisted of tribal members on horseback, old men, young girls and everyone in between. Many wore traditional dress, but others sported cowboy hats and neckerchiefs or jeans, T-shirts and baseball caps.

Colorful blankets draped many of the horses. Some were decorated in beads.

At the front of the parade, after the color guard, three teenage girls dressed in traditional elk-tooth dresses rode slowly on horseback. They are called the good girls, said Autumn Whiteclay, watching with her sister, Lissa LaFrance, and watching the parade.

Two of the three are her nieces, 15-year-old twins Joree and Taylor LaFrance of Wyola, Whiteclay said proudly. The third is Heidi Wilson of Missoula.

Her nieces have excelled academically, as well as in sports and on horseback, Whiteclay said, which earned them the honor of leading the parade. A crier followed them on foot who proclaimed in the Crow language all of their achievements.

“My dad, Francis Whiteclay, first put them on a horse when they were 2,” she said. “He taught them their horsemanship.”

The twins wear elk-tooth dresses that their great-grandmother, Joan Horn, received as wedding presents. Altogether, five generations of Whiteclay’s family are at Crow Fair this year.

The parade mirrors early Crow life, said Lissa LaFrance, the twins’ mother. In camp, the women would be the ones to put up and take down tepees, cook and tend to the children. The men’s job would be to hunt, to provide for their families.

“When they would move camp, the women and children would go first,” LaFrance said.

In Friday’s parade, the three girls were followed by a float that carried the girls chosen as the Indian princesses. After that, a long line of riders.

Finally, unlike the early treks, a series of vehicles decorated in colorful blankets and signs, carried adults and kids along the parade route. Many of them tossed out candy, as well as water bottles and small balls to children who quickly gathered them up.

After the parade, participants and watchers scattered to their tepees and tents. Some went for a dip in the river. Others walked over to the arbor, in the center of the encampment, where food is for sale and where the powwow would begin hours later.

Daisy Dineen, from Vancouver, Wash., her brother J.D. Cline of Denver and her daughter Rochelle Rothaus of Olympia, Wash., sat and enjoyed some shade on the covered bleachers. Dineen and Cline grew up in Crow Agency, with their mother a member of the tribe.

This was Rothaus’ third time at the fair, and she brought her husband, daughter and son. It’s kind of a family tradition, she said, but it’s more than that.

“It’s part of our family’s heritage,” she said.

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Here’s the entire story from the Associated Press:

Cedric Black Eagle (Larry Mayer/Billings Gazettte)

Cedric Black Eagle (Larry Mayer/Billings Gazettte)

BILLINGS (AP) — The chairman of Montana’s Crow Indians says the tribe is seeking a $1.5 million bank loan to make up for a sharp decline in revenues.

Crow Chairman Cedric Black Eagle said Monday that the tribe has a $2.1 million deficit for 2010, out of a budget of about $25 million.

He says it is the second year in a row that the tribe dropped into the red, following a 2009 deficit of about $1 million.

A drop in royalties from coal mining and the declining value of some outside investments were blamed. Without the loan, Black Eagle said 165 of the tribe’s approximately 900 employees could lose their jobs.

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Lacey Not Afraid, Justin Tolbert and Zac Cummins, from left to right, measure and map stones in a tepee ring at the Bighorn Canyon Archaeology Field School recently. (Bob Zellar/Billings Gazette)

Lacey Not Afraid, Justin Tolbert and Zac Cummins, from left to right, measure and map stones in a tepee ring at the Bighorn Canyon Archaeology Field School recently. (Bob Zellar/Billings Gazette)

It seems to be archaeology day at Buffalo Post (see previous post here). This story is about 17 Crow Nation students looking into their own past during an archaeology field school in a remote part of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area on what is now the Montana-Wyoming border.

They’re helping excavate a site that National Park Service archaeologist Chris Finley stumbled upon a year ago while surveying the area in advance of a plan plan by the Western Area Power Administration to rebuild transmission lines through the park, according to this Billings (Mont.) Gazette story by Lorna Thackeray:

    Four-poled tepees, unique to the Crow, would have stood tall on the sparsely vegetated campsite, their hide skirts held down by heavy stones gleaned from the rumbling landscape in the foothills of the Pryor Mountains. Whirls of smoke would have been rising from lodges of varying size. There would have been tepees for families large and small. Some may have been used to protect their dogs against brutal weather blowing down the canyon. Dogs were an integral part of nomadic life. Before horses, they were the primary beasts of burden. They barked warnings of an enemy approach and, in times of hunger, provided a food supply. The largest of the tepees may have served communal or ceremonial purposes.

“It really sparks your imagination,” says James Vallie, who last year was part of the first Crow field archaeology school funded through a grant from the National Park Foundation.

Gwen Florio

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Crow tribal members portraying Sioux and Cheyenne warriors cross the Little Bighorn River with the American and 7th Cavalry flags after defeating Gen. Custer in the Real Bird Battle of the Little Bighorn Reenactment Friday. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

Crow tribal members portraying Sioux and Cheyenne warriors cross the Little Bighorn River with the American and 7th Cavalry flags after defeating Gen. Custer in the Real Bird Battle of the Little Bighorn Reenactment Friday. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)


Here’s how Susan Olp’s story of the Billings Gazette begins:

    The Battle of the Little Bighorn is known around the world.

    On Friday afternoon, about 500 people from as far away as England came to the Real Bird Ranch, adjacent to the Little Bighorn Battle Monument, north of Garryowen, to see the battle for themselves. The Real Birds, members of the Crow Tribe, have put on the re-enactment for about 17 years.

    Visitors sat in bleachers overlooking the Medicine Trail Coulee, near where Lt. Col. George Custer and the 7th Cavalry met decisive defeat on June 25, 1876. The brown Bighorn River drifted along lazily in the background.http://buffalopost.net/wp-admin/post-new.php

    Authenticity is critical to the success of the re-enactment of the battle, said Ken Real Bird. Members of the cavalry wear uniforms and use firearms similar to the ones fired in the battle.

    Those who portray the Cheyenne and Sioux warriors are only permitted to wear breechcloths and moccasins. Most paint themselves and their horses with symbols of red, white, yellow and black.

    Between 70 and 80 people re-enact the roles of the soldiers, the warriors and tribal members. Friday’s presentatoin of the battle was choreographed by retired Lt. Col. Bobby Jolley, from Fort Lewis, Wash.

    Steve Alexander, from Monroe, Mich., portrayed Custer. Frank Knows His Gun, a member of the Ogallala Sioux Tribe, portrayed Crazy Horse.

Want more? There’s a whole photo array, a schedule of events, and of course the rest of this most excellent story. Click here.

Gwen Florio

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Tribal members water their horses on the Little Bighorn River during Crow Fair. (Adam Sings in the Timber)

Tribal members water their horses on the Little Bighorn River during Crow Fair. (Adam Sings in the Timber)

Those of us who live and work in Montana are already privileged to be familiar with the work of Adam Sings in the Timber. So we’re glad to see it appreciated in the New York Times.

Click here to view a slideshow of Sings in the Timber’s gorgeous work.

The Times’ Lens blog homes right in on what makes Sings in the Timber’s work so special. As Adam Stoltman writes:

    It often seems as if America has only two frames through which to view its native culture: ceremony and pageantry or poverty and addiction.

    “They are both opposite ends,” Adam Sings in the Timber said. “There is so much more in the middle.”

Thanks, Adam, for showing everyone the middle.

Gwen Florio

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Lodge Grass High students, from left, Ashton Old Elk, Ferlin Blacksmith and Deallen Little Light stop with their horses on the top of small rim at the Grapevine Creek battlefield this week. (David Grubbs/Billings Gazette)

Lodge Grass High students, from left, Ashton Old Elk, Ferlin Blacksmith and Deallen Little Light stop with their horses on the top of small rim at the Grapevine Creek battlefield this week. (David Grubbs/Billings Gazette)

The first interpretive project ever to take place at the Fort C.F. Smith site in southern Montana took place this week as part of a collaboration between the Crow Tribe and the National Park Service.

The site — now deonated only with a stone and metal marker — was built by the U.S. Army on the Bozeman Trail along the Bighorn River to protect people traveling to Virginia City’s gold camps, Brett French of the Billings Gazette writes here.

“Anywhere else in America, this would be a really big site,” says Col. Berris Samples, leader of the Lodge Grass Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, who brought Crow students there this week. He also took the students to the site of the Grapevine Creek battle between the Crow and the Blackfeet.

The sites, on the Crow reservation, are typically closed to anyone other than Crow tribal members, but because of a collaboration with the Junior ROTC group, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area staff was able to accompany the group and give presentations to the students. (Watch a video of the day’s events, here.)

“This is the first interpretive program ever given at the site of Fort C.F. Smith,” Chris Wilkinson, chief of interpretation for the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, tells French.

Wilkinson told the group that the fort — the most isolated along the Bozeman Trail — was built in 1864 to protect white emigrants from raids by the Sioux and Cheyenne:

Chris Wilkinson, chief of interpretation for the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, speaks to Lodge Grass students about Fort C.F. Smith on Tuesday near the site where the flagpole once stood. (David Grubbs/Billings Gazette)

Chris Wilkinson, chief of interpretation for the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, speaks to Lodge Grass students about Fort C.F. Smith on Tuesday near the site where the flagpole once stood. (David Grubbs/Billings Gazette)

    “Your ancestors, the Crow Nation, were stuck in the middle of this,” Wilkinson told the JROTC students.

    Without the help of Crow Indians acting as scouts, mail carriers and providing food to starving soldiers in the winter of 1867, Fort C.F. Smith might not have lasted two years.

    “I do not believe there is any greater example of hospitality to the U.S. Army,” Wilkinson said.

    “Why do I tell you this today?” he asked rhetorically. “By celebrating your legacy, you are following in your ancestors’ footsteps and extending hospitality. We thank you for allowing us to visit your sites.”

At the site of the Grapevine Creek battle, where the Crow defeated a Blackfeet band, students raised a tepee.

Theo Hugs, who retired last year from the Bighorn Canyon NRA, tells French that the interaction between the tribe and the National Park Service is long overdue.

“I think the kids need to know their heritage,” she says.

Gwen Florio

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Kevin Red Star's "Crow Tipis – Night Lodge." (Tom Bauer/Missoulian)

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Nearly a half-century after becoming part of the first class at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, N.M., Crow artist Kevin Red Star’s is part of the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Denver Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of Western Art, the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, and the U.S. State Department.

Tonight, he’ll open the first solo exhibition of his work at the Missoula Art Museum in western Montana, the Missoulian’s Joe Nickell writes here.

“All of the national recognition that Kevin has received, his drawing attention to art as a living and breathing part of contemporary Native American culture, and then his decision to come back here to Montana – it makes it important for us to celebrate that body of work,” MAM curator Steve Glueckert tells Nickell.

“He really had a big part in bringing contemporary Native American art to where it is now. He was and is hugely influential.”

As Nickell writes, Red Star’s work blends “elements of pop art and abstract expressionism with an unabashedly pictorial, at times romantic approach.”

Red Star characterizes his own history as well as art. The exhibit includes his “Crow Tipis – Night Lodge,” shown above in the Missoulian photo by Tom Bauer.

“Someone who is a student of Plains Indian groups will see that those tepees aren’t just any tepees; they’re Crow Indian tepees, which is reflected in the way they’re constructed,” says Red Star. “The dresses of the dancers, too, that’s not just colorful dresses. It’s Crow Indian dresses.”

Gwen Florio

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Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was adopted into the Crow Tribe by Hartford and Mary Black Eagle during a campaign visit to Crow Agency. (James Woodcock/Billings Gazette?

Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was adopted into the Crow Tribe by Hartford and Mary Black Eagle during a campaign visit to Crow Agency. (James Woodcock/Billings Gazette)


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The latest news release from the Seneca Nation – which is furious over a new law banning mail-order cigarettes – accuses President Barack Obama of “deliberate betrayal” of Native Americans.

Obama signed the PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking) Act yesterday. Read the Buffalo News account here.

The tribe derives significant income from mail-order sales tobacco products. The tribe says that will cause the loss of 3,000 jobs, both Native and non-Native, related to those sales.

But both health groups and big tobacco supported the PACT Act, the latter maintaining that the tax-free nature of the mail-order smokes represented unfair competition.

“The President of the United States invited Native American leaders to Washington D.C. in November and looked us in the eye as a sign of good faith in his pledge to protect federal treaties. Now four months later he has betrayed that promise,” says Seneca Nation president Barry Snyder Jr.

The news release reminds readers that, during his campaign, Obama was adopted into the Crow Tribe, in southern Montana. His adoption by Hartford “Sonny” Black Eagle and Mary Black Eagle made him a member of the Whistling Water Clan, a child of the Newly Made Lodge, and brother to Cedric Black Eagle, now the tribe’s president

“I guess he’s forgotten friends he made when he wanted votes. He is no friend to Indian Country and I would hope the Crow revoke his honorary member status,” Snyder says.

Snyder also blasted members of Congress who voted for the PACT Act, but singled out South Dakota Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for praise for refusing to support it.

“Congresswoman Sandlin, whose district includes Rosebud and Yankton Sioux nations, had the backbone to point out that the PACT Act will open the door for states to bring felony changes against tribes and tribal businesses. If only our Western New York lawmakers had this same respect for tribal sovereignty,” Snyder says.

Gwen Florio

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No breaking Native American news here – just something I found yesterday while looking for music videos of Cary Morin, a Fort Collins, Colo., a musician who performed at the Vancouver Olympics. (See that post, here.) Morin made this video from the Crow Fair in Montana in 2002 – prehistory, in the world of YouTube – and I really enjoyed watching it. Sometimes it’s good just to stop and take a few moments to appreciate things.

Gwen Florio

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