Blog From The Rez- Montana

by Linda Walker

Today is primary election day here on the Blackfeet Reservation, which initiates a change in the make up of the tribal council in November.  One hundred candidates are competing for four positions on the council.  The voting poll workers who staffed the voting here in the Head Start Building where we are staying began to arrive well before 7 AM.  I know it was early because I was dragging myself to the shower after having had a wonderful experience at the Sweat Lodge last night.

As we were eating breakfast, we watched the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee on television.  Tremendous pagentry.

My first gig of the day was to transplant veggies into other containers at the greenhouse.  However, I couldn’t perform that task because the door was locked and no one was “home” in the “dome” except for the gophers in the field who were playing tag in and out of their gopher holes.  Never fear, I finally got to work in the Medicine Spring library on the BCC campus, where we washed chairs. My co-volunteer, Miriam, came along later to work with us.  Once we completed that job, we left and went to do other work.  I finally did get to transplant the veggies, and later I toured the Museum of the Plains Indians, where I saw some truly lovely examples of clothing made with porcupine needles, feathers, animal hides and beads.

After a great dinner of pork, cabbage, baked beans, tuna salad and bread, we were treated to a talk by Joe Bremner, a local Blackfeet businessman and BCC instructor. Joe spoke eloquently about Blackfeet people, medicine bundles and many artifacts sacred to the Blackfeet, and issues facing their Nation.  Then, to my surprise, he played two different flutes for us.  One song he played was “Amazing Grace.”  Oh so lovely!

Later, some of us went to the casino to play bingo, but we got there too late, and the man at the front door of the game room tried to explain the rules and costs to us.  So complicated!  Whatever happened to good old fashioned plain B-I-N-G-O?  We decided to just play the slots while we waited for Michele to pick us up in the van.  We weren’t winners.  All that was left of Miriam’s two dollars was a 9-cent cash-out ticket which she eagerly cashed in.  We went home to bed.

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