June 18

The family that dances together...

Can you imagine the hours of hand work that go in to these costumes.  The tiny beads that are threaded together to form a pattern, and then to outfit the whole family, including the growing children must take years of work. The families such as this one who make the powwow circuit invest a lot of themselves in their family tradition.

A friendship connects

The Twin Buttes Powwow is  a cultural, social and spiritual event, not one for amusement nor as a tourist attraction. It’s a generational event passed down from countless generations. Thanks to the federal government that took the land where the powwow once was held near the Missouri River, the powwow is now nestled in the buttes and bluffs next to Lake Sakakawea.   It’s not easy to find.  It’s not well advertised nor marked.  But the people who belong there find it year after year.  Though the federal government once cracked down on powwows and prevented them from their annual celebration, the tradition has survived.

I try to attend many of the annual powwows on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. There are at least five of them each year, but the Twin Buttes Powwow is my favorite.  It is as un-pretentious as you can get.  It’s authenticity is remarkable and humbling to a visitor like me. I can think of only one or two White European traditions that have carried on for so many generations: Passover, Chanukkah, Christmas, Easter remain but perhaps altered by commercial and societal influences.  Not so with this powwow.

I didn’t get to stay for more than a couple of hours this year, only long enough to greet a few friends, and to see the pageantry of the Grand Entry.  I was fortunate that the light was subdued and even so the photo-ops were even and colors equally visible, neither blown out nor hidden in shadows.

If you care to join me next year to sample a modern celebration of ancient history, let me know. Bring your camera. Let’s go!

May 2

He’s a big dog, as you can tell by the hand stroking his neck, but this Seaman is larger than life.  Indeed Seaman who accompanied Lewis and Clark was a large dog, a Newfoundland, but even that large of dog is no match for this statue at Fort Mandan near Washburn.  The replica of the Fort duplicates what is allegedly underwater nearby, the fort where the Corps of Discovery stayed a long winter with the hospitable Mandan Indians and met their young guide Sacagawea.

It’s May and the grass is just beginning to turn green, the skies lack any depth to them because there is so much moisture in the air, but spring is here, and it’s a good time to get out and explore the resurrection of history and its stories in North Dakota.

January 17

Sagagawea and the Corps of Discovery at night

We return to Western North Dakota for a trip down Highway 200 including a stop at the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center in Washburn.  The foggy misty night made the large statues a soft glow.

Antique Ford resting in the snow

Antique Ford resting in the snow

Earlier in the day, I stopped in Golden Valley, North Dakota. On the south side of town is a row of unused equipment, including this old grain truck — still licensed, though not with current tags.  Golden Vally has a good display of antique equipment, mostly antique construction equipment.  However, if you’re fortunate to be there when the Lindemann’s are around, you can talk them in to touring one of the most extensive Harley Davidson museums anywhere!  At least one model HD from every year is in their museum. (More about that later in ND 365.)

Drilling rigs light up the night in western ND

My turn around point on the day’s trip was the Killdeer Mountains near Killdeer, North Dakota.  Here, one of the many oil rigs is drilling for oil.  The area is seeing a resurgence in oil activity.  More than 100 rigs are operating in the state, the highest number since the early 1980’s.

January 1, 2010 part deux

January 1, 2010

Sagagawea and Meriwether Lewis

We’ll visit these larger than life statutes more than once this year. They are at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn..  This is where the Mandan teenager Sagagawea met the Corps of Discovery and then accompanied them, guided them in their long journey up the Missouri river, across the Rockies to the West Coast and back.