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Last Day “Riches Are Not Money Or Wealth – They Are Family”

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Ross Opened His Teepee To Us – What Hospitality!

 

It’s funny how a week can change your perspective. When we first arrived at Crow Agency, It seemed an inconvenience to walk 10 minutes up the street just to take shower. A week later, we are extremely grateful that a representative from the college has taken personal time out of this busy day to open the showers for us at 7 AM, when they would be otherwise closed.

 After a shower and a quick breakfast meeting, we arrive at Ross’s campsite to watch the parade, which is a daily rite of the annual Crow Fair.   The campground  is hardly recognizable from a few days ago. Where there were only a few teepees dotting the landscape, now there are 1000’s scattered on every possible tract of land.

 IMG_8939We are enthralled with the beautiful native dress – the intricacy of the bead work, the vibrant colors, and the spectacular plumage of the headdresses. It’s an honor for families to participate in the parade. They begin working on their traditional outfits months in advance. Roberta and Ross have kindly hosted our team for dinner. An evening spent with new friends and good food under the ‘shade’ we helped set up along the tee pee that we raised with the supervision of Ross’s extended family.

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We will leave with fond memories of the friends that we have made among our team and the community at large.

 

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Winner Of The Teepee Creeper – 3 K Run – One Of The Team!

 

I will end with a quote from Clayton Three Irons: “Your riches are not money and wealth – they are your family.” The Crow community has graciously welcomed us and treated us liked family and our lives have been forever enriched by the experience.

We Shared A Spirit Of Kindness                            We Enjoyed A Spirit of Kindness

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TEAM VIII

Penned by Deana

Thursday – A New Corps of Discovery

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In 1804, members of the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled down the Yellowstone River through Crow country on their return trip to St. Louis. The “Corps of Discovery”, as they were known, was completing its mission to document the land and its plants, animals, terrain and its people.

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Some Gals From Team 8 Core of Discovery

Similarly, 210 years later, another group of intrepid explorers is completing their mission in Crow country – Global Volunteers Team 8. This mission was to gain an insight into Crow culture, spread the spirit of kindness, live a new experience and appreciate what we have in our lives.

The present day Corps of Discovery started the day as they had every day. Some had a hot cup of coffee while others, in 2014 fashion, started their day by peering into their smart phones. One member started the day, as usual, with a morning jog to the top of one of the ridges where he met four Crow youth watching the sunrise. As with almost all encounters, here it was friendly and had to be cut short, in order to make it back to the Wellness Center for the morning showers.

With many places closed due to Crow Fair, our project options consisted of working at the rodeo. Some members cleaned up trash, but with the rain showers falling, the crowd was small and the workload light. Members watched the events before returning back to the Head Start building by mid-afternoon.

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Global Volunteer Cowboy

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One Of Our Cowgirls

A trip to a local trading post for dinner ended the day.  Some team members retired to their rooms contemplating what the CORE of their discovery had been not only this day but the week. What had we “discovered” about this land, this people?  This culture? About each other? and probably more importantly, what had we discovered about ourselves – who we were and who we had become through this experience?

Did I achieve my goal of “modernizing” my definition of a Native American? I think that I have, but maybe it is different from what I had hoped it would be.

Penned by Dave

Wednesday – We Continue Our Adventure In Service

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Horse Greeting Us Before Our Morning Shower

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Working Puzzles At The Care Center

The morning began with a walk to the showers with ominous clouds trailing behind us. After breakfast, the team was divided up among the 3 locations: the nursing home, the feeding program and the rodeo.

My group proceeded to the stables beside the rodeo. We did some work in the restroom, cleaning of the floors, walls, sinks and of course the toilets.

After we had finished, we had the pleasure of meeting some of the horses, like “Rolls Royce” and “Country Boy Roll”.  Eventually, we met the group at the nursing home and spent some time there. We walked back to rodeo and watched some barrel racing.

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Ready To Work At The Rodeo

When we returned “home”, we enjoyed an early dinner of delicious pork chops. The night ended with a meeting about program evaluations, time cards and of course the waking of the trains.

Penned by Deepali

Tuesday – One Small Gesture Means Alot

Morning began with some reminiscing of our Monday evening activity. We assisted our Crow leader with setting up his teepee for the upcoming Crow annual fair. It was one of the highlights of the trip thus far. Everyone had a chance to pitch in and we received not only direction, but rationale for correct completion and symbolic significance. Those who actually walked and balanced 20 foot poles had the most challenging experience – it was a very fun time.

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We Met with The President

Our first activity today occurred at “Little Big Horn College” across from our “home” at Head Start. The college president  met with us and provided a synopsis of the college history, subsequent growth and current challenges.

We then returned to our work locations to receive our day’s assignments. Activities were similar to the previous day with some completed independently and some alongside locals.

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Washing Dishes For Feeding Program

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Fixing Ceiling Lights At Head Start

At times, it feels that the tasked completed could not be of significant to the Global Volunteers goals of “waging peace and promoting justice” – so lofty an aspiration. However, when you consider that each senior Indian, who staffs the feeding program likely had a burden lifted and an easier day because of our presence.

This is a good thing and maybe that is the point. One small gesture followed by another and another – eventually a basis for trust and understanding. It will be the combined and  incremental efforts of all the global volunteers over time at this location that will make the difference and achieve the desired outcome.

Penned by Kerry

Monday – A Day of Discovery

We Helped Erect This Teepee

We Helped Erect This Teepee

The highpoint of our day was building a teepee under a large Montana moon.

We all helped in some way and the end result was as breathtaking as it was big!

But first, we started with our morning message which was a quote from Indian Chief Crazy Horse – very appropriate to our setting at Crow Agency and Little Big Horn (Montana): “In order to heal our grand mother earth, we must unify through peace”.

With this inspirational thought in mind we then proceeded to conduct our morning meeting; identify projects; and receive assignments. Three locations we serve today include: a Care Center, a Feeding Program and a tee pee raising at the Crow Fair Ground

 At some point we all engaged in one or more interactions with a Crow resident or reservation employees. Conversations were informational, steeped in historic content. From our interactions we learned about tribal custom differences, perceptions regarding wealth, and male/ female roles in Crow society and the importance of family was reinforced.

As the world outside the reservation seems to grow increasingly impersonal and fractured, it is a welcome respite to have contact with a society that values family relationships and simplicity above all.

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Stretching The Shade

 

Penned by Kerry

 

 

Sunday – The Montana ‘Super Moon’

George Armstrong Custer & Chief Sitting Bull

Our Sunday begins early with a team effort to prepare breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, toast, etc. After a nice shower at the Little Big Horn College Activity Center nearby, we headed out to see the site of the Little Bighorn Battle, where the ranger’s passionate narration of the events that happened some 130 years ago were brought back to life.

After lunch at ‘our ranch’ and after the last volunteer arrived, we began  our orientation meeting, where among other things we formally introduced each other. photo.JPG group at tableWe also discussed the core values that Global Volunteer espouses and agreed on common goals for the week. We were all in agreement that we wanted to learn more about the Crow culture, and, in our own small way, help promote a just and harmonious world, among all the peoples of the world.

Tonight is the “Super Moon”, which happens when a full moon occurs during its closest point to earth (or perigee). We are all looking forward to driving around the reservation Sunday night, under a bright moon and seeing all the lovely teepees glowing in the moonlight!

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Yes, We Stopped to See The ‘Super Moon’

Penned by Arun

Team 6 Has Arrived In Crow Agency, MT

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Team VIII Arrives in Crow Agency

The first day of the Global Volunteers  experience is always one of excitement and anticipation: How many people will there be? What are their backgrounds?  Where are they from?

All met at Billings airport, around 1pm with goal of setting out to Crow Agency soon after.  To make things more exciting, one volunteer showed up a week too early, but luckily for her she was spotted by Phyllis, our team leader.

After we arrived in Crow Agency, we quickly found Head Start, our “home for a week.”   We prepared  dinner and the result of our teamwork was wonderful baked chicken with potatoes and carrots and a delicious salad!

After dinner, Ross, our host, drove us around the reservation and showed us the arrangements being made for the upcoming powwow.  The almost-full moon produced an eerie but beautiful glow on the teepees that had already been pitched. I cannot wait to see the powwow underway, with all the tribes in attendance!

We are beginning to get to know each other. If my previous Global Volunteer projects are any indication, I think we’ll all be like the best buddies by the end of the week, and we’ll be sad to part ways.

But let me not dwell on next Saturday; for now, I’ll say: “Laissez le bon temps rouler”, or, in English: Let the good times roll!

Penned by Arun

 

New Team on the Crow Reservation

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Crow Team 6 arrives in Crow Agency

The first day of the Global Volunteers  experience is always one of excitement and anticipation: How many people will there be? What are their backgrounds?  Where are they from?

All met at Billing’s airport, around 1pm with goal of setting out to Crow Agency soon after.  To make things more exciting, one volunteer showed up a week to early, but luckily for her she was spotted by Phyllis, our team leader.

After we arrived in Crow Agency, we quickly found Head Start, our “home” for a week. We prepared  dinner and the result of our teamwork was wonderful baked chicken with potatoes and carrots and a delicious salad!

After dinner, Ross (our host) drove us around the reservation and showed us the arrangements being made for the upcoming Pow Wow. The almost-full moon produced an eerie but beautiful glow on the teepees that had already been pitched. I cannot wait to see the Pow Wow underway, with all the tribes in attendance!

We are beginning to get to know each other. If my previous Global Volunteer projects are any indication, I think we’ll all be like the best buddies by the end of the week, and we’ll be sad to part ways.

But let me not dwell on next Saturday; for now, I’ll say: “Laissez le bon temps rouler”, or, in English: Let the good times roll!

Penned by Arun

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

Final Glimpses – Final Thoughts

Here’s to all the volunteers, those dedicated people who are helping others.  Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.  I can no other answer make, but, thanks and thanks. – a merging of various quotes by Linda

Friday Morning (David)

Even drizzle doesn't stop this team!

Even drizzle doesn’t stop this team!

It’s Friday the 13th, the beginning to an end of a wonderful week.  As some team members headed off to their daily job assignments we waited. (“patience”)  Joan was taken to the E.R. to have her wrist checked out.  The doctor determined it to be a strained tendon (“self awareness” and “positive attitude”)  meanwhile the painting projects were rained out; thus some job assignments were changed (“balance and flexability”) As we drove down the highway towards St. Mary’s, we never caught up with the Manpower group.  So we decided to pick up litter along the highway near a creek (“positive attitude, compromise and flexibility”) We easily filled a large trash bag with litter, mostly beer bottles.  In the creek something was spotted, we thought to be a rather old and large beaver dam (“assume the best”).  We proceeded back to town and over to the Manpower center where they provided us with a feed, consisting of sandwiches, chips and cookies.  All in all, we had fun (“there’s no I in team or volunteer, humor and have fun”).

Afternoon (Peter)

Observations:  The BCC Medicine Spring Library Director, Virginia Weeks, has worked here 6 years. From Illinois, she received her second master’s degree from Montana State University in Boseman, in counseling. Her first was in library science.

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Darryl Wippert – One of the Faces We’ll Remember

George Kipp director of Manpower, the One Stop tribal agency for everything from pregnant teens to veterans and those in between, is perpetually optimistic. Clifford Whitegrass, Sheryl Tail Feathers, Tomylisea, and their colleagues, operate programs in which we all have been involved. Taken together, they are part of the development infrastructure – from education to job certification – that is being deployed to do the near impossible: Help Blackfeet get out of poverty through education, creating jobs through vocational education, and stemming the flow of registered Blackfeet who leave for better opportunities elsewhere….Lest there be any doubt, We are appreciated.

Saturday, June 14, 2014:  Message  by Joan

“Success is not final, Failure is not fatal,  It is the courage to continue that counts.”  -Winston Churchill

‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said.  People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”  -Maya Angelou

Thank you to all.  It was an inspiring, uplifting and educational week.  I hope we contributed as much as we learned!

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