By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
This week Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation is bustling with activity as the tribe celebrates national Native American Week with a host of games and activities.
"This is kind of an open, fun gathering," said Mario Patacsil, tribal public relations director. Patacsil said the tribe is holding a mix of traditional and nontraditional events, and that the atmosphere is more relaxed than Rocky Boy's Pow-Wow because of the competition associated with the powwow.
Patacsil said the tribal council encourages tribal members to attend the functions throughout the day, and that many are allowed to take time off work. He said nontribal people are welcome also.
"We want everyone to know what we're doing too," he said. "Come out and taste the foods and stuff like that."
Rocky Boy has observed Native American Week for at least 10 years. Patacsil said some of the most popular events include footraces, basketball games, a tug of war, a golf pitch/drive contest and a parade.
Bruce Sunchild, vice chair of the tribal council, said today that the week helps Indian children know their culture and be proud of it.
"We as elders need to instill that cultural aspect into it," he said, adding that there are a many cultural activities in the schools at Rocky Boy this week.
"There's plenty of activities that are going on this week," Sunchild said.
He said he ran against the other tribal council members in a footrace Monday that was won by council member Jake Parker.
Sunchild said his favorite event of the week is probably the community feed, which will be held Wednesday at noon at the old Stone Child College gymnasium.
Opening ceremonies at Rocky Boy were Monday morning. Three Chippewa Cree tribal council members spoke - including council chair Alvin Windy Boy Sr. - as well as officials from Rocky Boy Public Schools and Stone Child College. Nearly 30 seniors from Rocky Boy and Box Elder high schools also attended the event.
Other festivities on Monday included a prayer breakfast, a basketball tournament and a traditional sweat lodge.
Today features another basketball tournament, a tug of war, and a women's arrow throwing contest.
Also this week, the Chippewa Cree Community Coalition will judge a different traditional clothing item every day. Event coordinator Jonna Parker said the participants wear their traditional clothing items, and 10 to 15 judges pick the winners. Traditional dress was the category on Monday and the best moccasins category was scheduled to be judged this afternoon. Ribbon shirts will be judged Wednesday, and men's breechcloths and women's jewelry on Thursday.
Activities still to come this week at Rocky Boy include a turkey shoot at the Natural Resources Department all day on Wednesday, a men's arrow throwing contest Wednesday afternoon, an elders' cooking demonstration all day on Thursday, a horse race on Thursday afternoon, a parade on Friday afternoon, and a handgame tournament on Friday evening.
There will also be some community events at the Fort Belknap Indian Community.
Elizabeth Doney, a journalist with the tribal newspaper, the Fort Belknap News, said that today and Wednesday tribal leaders are participating in an economic summit attended by representatives from about 50 organizations concerned with economic development, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Fannie Mae. Doney said tribal members interested in learning more about home ownership or small business development are welcome to attend. The summit is taking place at the Red Whip Community Center at Fort Belknap from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, and all day Wednesday.
There will also be a powwow on Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. and a community feed from 4 to 6 p.m. in the bingo hall at Fort Belknap, she said. In case of cold weather the feed will be moved to the Red Whip Community Center.
Here is a tentative schedule of events at Rocky Boy on Wednesday through Friday.
Elders' cooking demonstration: all morning until early afternoon at Rocky Boy Elementary School. The public can sample traditional foods.
Decorated door contest: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Contact Jonna Parker at 395-5705.
Horseshoe contest: 10 a.m. to noon at the agency baseball field. Contact Thela Billy at 395-4370.
Disability Awareness Day: 9 a.m. to noon at the old Stone Child College Gym. Contact Blue Belcourt or Luanne Four Colors at 395-4818/4837.
Disability Awareness Day feed: noon at the old Stone Child College gym.
Ribbon shirts contest: 1 to 2 p.m. at the tribal programs office. Judging will be done between 2 and 3 p.m. Contact Jonna Parker at 395-5705.
Turkey shoot: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the natural resources office. Contact Leland Top Sky at 395-4207.
Hose lay contest: 3 to 5 p.m. at the natural resources office. Contact Emory Nault at 395-4207.
Three-mile relay race: 9 to 11 a.m. The race begins in Parker Canyon and ends at the old Stone Child College parking lot. Contact Loranda Lafromboise at 395-4225.
Greased pig catch: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the agency baseball field. Contact Earl Nault at 395-4486.
Men's breechcloth and women's jewelry contest: 1 to 2 p.m. at the tribal programs office. Judging will be done between 2 and 3 p.m. Contact Jonna Parker at 395-5705.
Volleyball: noon to 2 p.m. at the agency baseball field. Contact Larry Singer at 395-4270.
Horse race: 2 to 4 p.m. at Mitchell Field. Contact Archie Arkinson at 395-4370.
Men's team arrow throw contest: 4 p.m. at the agency baseball field. Contact Larry Singer at 395-4270 or Ed Stamper at 395-4875.
Farmer's market: 4 to 7 p.m. at Stone Child College.
49 singing/jam session: after dark at the park by the natural resources office. Contact Suzanne Billy at 395-4207.
Parade: begins at 1 p.m. at the CDC building, goes around the agency and ends at the agency. Jackets will be given to participating veterans. Contact Judy Houle at 395-4728.
Handgame tournament: 7 p.m. at the old Stone Child College gym. Contact Mary Clark at 395-4863.