An Intense Cultural Experience on the Crow Reservation

This was our first full day in Crow Agency so we wanted to take advantage of every minute before we begin our work projects tomorrow.

Mason went out for an early morning run. The rest of us tried to sleep in, but…the sun rises really early here! After a breakfast of cereal, juice, coffee and tea, we had our first “official” team meeting. We discussed Global Volunteers policies and the Crow community. After lunch we set our Team Goals and determined the Characteristics of an Effective Team.

In the morning Joe, Mike, Beck, and Sandy B. went to 10 a.m. mass at St. Dennis. It’s a beautiful church with a fairly large congregation.

After lunch came the high point of the day! We attended the Sun Dance ceremony. Before it started, we watched the setting up of a tipi (N.B.- that’s the white man’s word- the Crow word is “es-sky-la”). We also heard about the importance of the number four in Crow culture, the different sweat lodges, and the significance of the Sun Dance. When we arrived, four men were seated in the grass around a decorated tree. All four were attached to the tree by ropes that were connected to “sticks” in their chests. Another man came, sticks were inserted into his chest and upper back, ropes were attached and caramba! He was pulled up until his skin ripped! Meanwhile the dancing, singing, and drumming continued for quite a while. Another impressive part involved a man with one stick in his back. It was connected to four buffalo skulls. He then dragged them around the large circular area until his skin tore too. We were all very grateful to have been able to witness this sacred ceremony. It is definitely something we won’t forget!

We then went shopping in Hardin and had a fantastic stir-fry dinner prepared by Sandy P.

All in all, it was a great way to start our week here in Crow Agency. We met and talked to some of the residents which proved today’s saying: “All cultures smile in the same way!”

Entry submitted by: Sandi

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply