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Published: November 19th 2007
Fancy Dancers with Traditional Dancers
The ladies in the background are traditional dancers and the guys in the fancy outfits are the fancy dancers and man can they dance.
From Red Lodge Jeff and I parted ways (If you don't know what I'm talking about see the previous entry about the Beartooth Highway), he headed back west towards Bozeman and I continued on my way to the Crow Indian Reservation
for Crow Fair (the tribes yearly summer pow-wow). Once I was on the "rez" I was supposed to meet my very good friend Cheryl and her girlfriend Lisa. Unfortunately I took a wrong turn and ended up going for a very long drive through the Crow Reservation to Bisby, which is in the Northern Cheyenne Reservation
. So I stopped called Cheryl and found out she was running late as well. She suggested I go and visit Little Bighorn Battlefield
and taking her advice I turned around and headed back to Crow Agency. On the way it occurred to me how flat, windy and lonely the plains can feel. The roads are long, there are few people and the sky is so huge it gives one a feeling of driving into the emptiness. It is a very humbling feeling and the feeling was only going to get more humble.
I pulled into LBH Battlefield, flashed my National Parks Pass and parked the old Toyota, Betty (yep
The Parade begins!
Look at all the Elk Teeth on that dress.
that's right I named the damn truck). I was just in time to have someone retell the story of how Custer and the U.S. Army walked into an impossible battle and were slaughtered by the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. After the talk, I walked along a hiking path that meandered through the battlefield up to Last Stand Hill. Walking thru the battlefield seeing various lone markers where soldiers and warriors fell and died just 130 years ago is deeply moving. So moving, that I felt like I would be committing a horrible sin to even take a picture on this hallowed ground (so I didn't). One hundred and thirty years ago the state I currently call home wasn't even a state. As a matter of fact it was home to thousands of other people. It was disorienting to think about what the land I currently stood on was like 150 years ago, how different it was. Perhaps a century and a half is a long time, but for me, relative to human history, it seems so very recent. I hung out at the battlefield until they closed and made my way over to Veterans Park just south of Crow Agency
to meet Cheryl and the crew. I didn't have to wait to long and when Cheryl pulled up, I grabbed my stuff hopped in her car and we drove into the Teepee Capital of the World, Crow Fair. Basically a whole Teepee village is raised for five days on the Crow Fairgrounds as people walk to the vendors around the Arbor (where the dancing happens).
We were invited as guests to Fredrica Lefthands camp, set up shop and then made our way to the Arbor and walked around getting some food and running into some of Cheryl's friends. I watched a lot of dancing that night and listened to a lot of good songs! When we got tired we made our way back to camp and fell asleep to drumming and singing (from what I understand they danced until 2am). I got up earlier than everyone else at camp and walked around the Fairgrounds until I ran into the Crow Fair Teepee Creepers run! What is Teepee Creeping you ask? Well, let's just say if you get caught teepee creeping by your snags parents, you better be able to run and fast! Afterwards I made my way back to
camp and had some breakfast and found a spot to watch the parade that day. I have never seen so many elk tooth dresses and beautiful regalia it was awesome. After the parade we made our way back to the Arbor in the August heat (it was somewhere in the low 100's) and got ourselves some food (I tried some menudo -cow stomach soup/it wasn't too bad). Later that day I got up the courage and did some dancing with Lisa's little girl Fallon and I ran into my good friend Ronnie Lodgepole who was competing in grass dancing that weekend! As the day grew long we all had to make our way back to Bozeman, but on the way out of the fairgrounds, I picked myself up a nice Navajo ring that fit nicely on my pinky. A little known fact to me is that when you are hot your fingers bloat. Well on the way back west to Bozeman the weather cooled off and the ring fell off my pinky and now it only fits on the ring finger of my left hand. I jokingly call it my Man Ring so as to show it can be manly
View from Camp
to wear jewelry. I know some of you are wondering, but no home wreckers have hit on me yet, hoping to catch themselves a married man! It was a great weekend and if you ever find yourself in Crow Country in August during Crow Fair you would truly be missing out if you did not go!
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