I was temporarily offline this weekend because I was out in the country pow-wowing. We drove East to the Kalispell Indian Reservation, met my Studly Hubby's aunt (she's a park ranger for the tribe) and other aunt (who lives on their native reservation in South Dakota) and Grandma (who splits her time between the two reservations), and we all pow-wowed together. We even set up our tent near some tee-pees (D's aunt has a little trailer). Our tent is the yellow and tan one in the picture to the left. The tee-pee was one of many right next door (although there were far more tents than tee-pees - they look like a pain to put up but what do I know?).
Highlights of the trip:
1. The Indian Stick Game, which is a betting game where people sit in rows banging on drums and chanting, someone hides some sticks, and they all bet on where the sticks got hidden (at least this is how it was explained to me). This was so much fun they were playing until the wee hours of the morning (e.g. when we got up) - I guess they were having a tournament and there was a $20,000 pot for the winner!
2. The dancing and the costumes - these were amazing. This was a competition among the Native Americans, and not just a demonstration, so they went all out and there was much excitement in the air.
3. The drummers - this was also a competition with a large pot for the winner so famous Indian drummers showed up from all over the country and competed in a drum-off that was held in the middle of the night (we missed it because it was at 3 am). The rest of the pow-wow the drummers played awesome songs for the dancers. At first I thought they were just randomly beating on the drum and wailing but I soon realized they were playing songs, and they were beautiful. They would play in groups of around five around a large drum in the center and everyone would chant in harmony and beat to the same rhythm.
4. The food - we had Indian fry bread! and huckleberry ice cream!
5. Serving breakfast - the reservation had space for vendors and the Studly Hubby's Studly aunt decided to take advantage and serve some breakfast. The Studly Hubby got to try his hand at being a short-order chef, and I helped take orders. We served greasy eggs, greasy hashbrowns, greasy bacon or sausage, and toast slopped with butter. At the end of the morning when we were running out of things, we served a "light" breakfast with just the eggs and sausage and toast, and some extra grease. We weren't very good at taking orders or making the food, and it's a miracle we didn't get any complainers. Once when I screwed up someone's order I tried to make the excuse "sorry, it's kinda chaotic here" but when I looked around I realized that at the time they were the only customer, and they were looking at me very strangely. We made a huge mess and only averaged $1 per hour each. I would not recommend it as a money-making venture.
6. The country - I miss the country. My Iowa roots called to me when we saw the Studly Hubby's Studly Aunt's house out in the country with woods and open views on three sides, a happy lab running amock in the yard (with porcupines sticking out of her nose, she had found some trouble the night before), and the close-knit community they have on the reservation.
7. Seeing the scenes - we got a brief tour of the high points in the area including an old lookout spot for fire-watching and a really cool cave.