June 24, 2010- Pow-Wow Preparation

Kate Murr

I know Jane already recorded this day but there were a few things she left out. We decided to stay for the pow-wow. We biked down to Pickstown and ate pie and lunch at the gas station/grocery store/restaurant, where we ran into Dave, a biker we’d met in Missouri. We visited the interpretative center at Fort Randall dam, which said nothing of the controversy over the dam’s displacement of twenty-four native families, but did have a place for the kids to dig for dinosaurs and learn more about Lewis and Clark. The young ladies on watch were great with the kids.

We returned to the Casino to set up camp on the pow-wow grounds. The warm-up and blessing of the grounds was underway and the announcer was telling a story about the Dog Soup and fry bread we would all be eating for dinner.

It means something to shake someone’s hand in the Yankton Sioux culture. More than a greeting, it is a demonstration of respect, and as the drummers sang songs of welcome and blessing, descendants of the great chief White Cloud danced and feebly hobbled to a spot at which the entire assemblage shook their hands.

Soup served from huge galvanized tubs was filling and good, made with hominy, beef, and potatoes. As guests, we were encouraged to follow the elders near the front of the line and to eat as much as we like. We ate on the bleachers with a family whose baby entertained the kids. We took the offered seconds.

After dinner and some more songs, we retired to our tent. It was a moon night and sleepless, full of wind and anticipation.

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