Saying Goodbye to Browning

“You load 16 tons, and what do you get?” Well, Kim and I only loaded 1,600 pounds of trash with Darryl Bird. Added to the trash picked up in the afternoon, it was a ton for sure!

At the care center, the “patio girls” moved another ton of dirt and I know Forrest and Noa would have moved a ton had they had a wheelbarrow. And what did we get? Talking only for myself –a little sore, a little satisfaction, a little frustration. Forrest had the idea that we should suggest that the Head Start Center turn the lot into a vegetable garden. Great idea, but you never want to step on toes, and who should spear-head such an ambitious project? I just hope they don’t “pave paradise, put up a parking lot” or my worst fear — the return of a junk pile.

Feedings continued at Eagle Shield where the crew is now so efficient they set new clean-up records and in the afternoon some residents in the Care Center made beaded key chains.

The surprise at the evening meeting was a visit from Barbara and Leona. These two Elders graced us with stories of their childhood growing up on the “Rez” and tried to teach us a few words in Blackfeet. Hopefully, at Friday’s “talent” show we will do them proud when we sing “Git see”kawko”min” — I love you — to the residents. Many of us were moved when Barbara thanked us for having her in our circle. She then told us she was feeling down today after receiving news of the death of two people close to her. Little did we realize that while she was giving so much herself, we were also there giving to her. It’s the timeless truth of giving–you get what you give. I hope today we all gave a little and got a little.

– Lisa
At the end of a long day, we all gathered together and were privileged to hear Leona speak to us about the Blackfeet language. She shared personal stories of her childhood, and tradition taught to her by her grandparents and elders. She learned nuances and complexities of Blackfeet syntax and her unique style as an educator to the young to preserve the past. We learned to say “I love you” and count to the more contemporary Macarena. As if that were not special in itself, her sister -in -law Barbara came along to expand on their ancient tales and unwritten practices. Were told of the “correct” way to do things that you will not find in the current literature. At the end of the day, she shared a special story with us which memorialized a perfect lesson of Blackfeet experience.
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