Monday: An Eventful Day

“You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”  Winston Churchill 

Team Kitchen (Gail, Jenna and Sarah)

volunteer on the Blackfeet Reservation

A lunchtime “assembly line” at Eagle Shield!

The day started with toasting and buttering 10 loaves of bread, with Jenna setting up tables for lunch and wrapping and sealing 100 or more utensils.  Gail was sent on her way with Paul to deliver 78 meals for homebound seniors with sneakers on and unbounded energy. Jenna and I spent the next few hours serving lunch to wonderful seniors and acquainting ourselves with Maria’s and Sissy’s cleaning system. The remainder of the day was helping prepare the evening meal by shucking corn. When Jonna asked about tartar sauce to accompany the trout, Maria immediately started on her very secret recipe. We are spoiled.

Flood Memorial, Nurturing Center, Summer Recreation

Half of our team (Peter, Andrew, Beth, Brendan, Linda, Joan, Anne Marie and David) went to the 50th Anniversary Memorial for the Flood of 1964.  That flood devastated this community after the Two Medicine and Birch Creek earthen dams broke after 8 days of heavy rains.  Many people lost their lives and the stories of that day resulted in a celebration and affirmation of Blackfeet unity and pride. Ginia reported that the highlight of the day was a conversation with a man named Gordon who was informative and generous with his time and stories – a true reflection of his people.

Sweat Lodge Experience

No picture or painting could ever be able to do justice to the beautiful scenery that we drove through on the way to the sweat lodge – vast fields sprinkled with lakes, rolling hills before the ever present backdrop of the mountains and beautiful sky.

We arrived on “Indian time” to experience the lodge.  Five hot rocks from the fire were placed in the pit in the middle of the lodge and we were informed about the process and what to do in the event that we felt we were no longer okay with the extreme heat.

We all presented our offerings of tobacco and told Tom, our host and Sweat Lodge leader, what we would be praying for and special initial prayers were said over burning tobacco and herbs on each of our behalves.  There were prayers and songs and then our first break.

Andrew was a trooper as he continued – helping to bring in the hot rocks and hot water – they told him to come back Monday as he was “hired.” He reflected:  “I saw it as a great experience and you had time to zone out and focus on what was going on in there in the moment – listening to their prayers and chants.”

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