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Montana Photo Journal Digest

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W W W . G L O B A L V O L U N T E E R S . O R G

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Global Volunteers’ service programs adhere to our over-arching Philosophy ofService in every community. Specifically, local people are always in charge ofwork projects, and volunteers contribute to community-driven initiativesalongside local people. At all times, we observe our policy stating “Safety TrumpsEverything.” Orientation sessions are conducted on the first day in-country, andmorning and evening meetings give volunteers time to organize and reviewactivities. The team journal, shared at morning meetings, is a mainstay of every GlobalVolunteers program. A daily collaborative report by one or two team members,it reflects on the day’s work and experiences. In many partner communities,volunteers contribute to several projects in different locations during the day.Through the team journal, volunteers hear about the projects and experiencesof their teammates. While such journaling requires effort, most volunteers report they love thevariety of recollections and stories. The journal becomes an enjoyable way tocommunicate shared and individual memories, and becomes a uniquekeepsake for each volunteer team. Volunteers tell us that many years later, theteam journal allows them to reminisce and cherish their time spent with localpeople and teammates. website for available service program dates.This journal digest, complete with photos, is a collection of journal excerptsfrom volunteers serving on Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.2

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B e w h o y o u a r e a n d s a y w h a t y o uf e e l , b e c a u s e t h o s e w h o m i n dd o n ' t m a t t e r , a n d t h o s e w h om a t t e r d o n ' t m i n d .~ Bernard M. Baruch

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Our first day in Heart Butte was a fun start to what will surely be a great week.The weather was beautiful, and when most of the volunteers first arrived, we satoutside the church and chatted.Once everyone arrived, Elaine made spaghetti, garlic bread, and a big salad fordinner. We were all happy to eat such a delicious meal, and afterwards Mindygot us all together to learn names and talk about the plan for tomorrow.MOLLY4S A T U R D A YWe played a name game and then went around and took turns talking aboutourselves and why we are here. It was wonderful to learn a little about peoples’jobs and interests, but it was even better to hear everyone’s thoughts about thevalue of volunteer work. This exercise was a great way to get reflective and learnmore about each other.Mindy inspired us all by talking about her many years of experiencevolunteering on the Blackfeet Reservation. In addition to this, she gave apreview of what is to come tomorrow, and it sounds like it will be lots of fun.

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Global Volunteers’ Heart Butte, Montana Team #169 awoke today to a bright,blue sky and a delicious, homemade, Chinese-style egg scramble prepared byTracy. The first full day of activities for the 169th team of Global Volunteersbegan with an orientation, led by our Team Leader, Mindy. The plan for today was to hold our team meeting at Eagle Shield followed by atour of the Reservation by Joe Guiseppe. Our first stop in Browning was for gas.And it was there that our plans changed. By chance or something else, Danpulled up to the gas pump next to the van, chatted Eileen up, and invited us to apipe ceremony at Tom Crawford in the afternoon. DAN5S U N D A YWe took a quick vote in the grocery store parking lot and all agreed this was agracious invitation and an opportunity not to be missed. We continued to EagleShield for our meeting. We each presented one of the Goals, Guidelines, orPrinciples of Global Volunteers. It was a good way to orient ourselves to ourplace in the community we are visiting and serving. We also wrote three of ourreasons why we have chosen to join this team to work with this particularcommunity. We laid them out on the floor and, not surprisingly, regardless ofage, there was much overlap. It seems that we are all united in a desire todeepen our understanding of Blackfeet culture, to make real connections withnew friends, to serve where needed, and to bring joy to those around us.

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Joe graciously agreed to postpone our tour and spoke with us for a little while.He told us a bit about life on the Reservation, including the difficulties of livinghere, such as a lack of jobs, housing, and problems created by the U.S.government when it divided the Reservation into allotments of land. When askedwhether and why young people stay, he explained about the strong bond ofextended families and how poverty can prevent those, who might want to movefor better economic opportunities, from leaving. Later we arrived at Tom Crawford’s ranch, passing the remnants of a previoussun ceremony along the way. Dan was seated on the floor with four largewooden pipes with black stone bowl before him and a green tarp behind him.We learned that this is Dan’s second of four pipe ceremonies he will do beforeparticipating in the sun dance ceremony at the end of July. SUNDAY6Rusty joined us and sat in front, facing Dan along with Tom Crawford. Tomexplained that Rusty knows many, if not all, of the songs and prayers used inBlackfeet ceremonies. Because of the breadth of his knowledge, and likely hiswinning personality, he is in much demand at ceremonies and sun dances acrossthe Reservation. We were lucky to have him there to lead the songs and teachKaspars and Jason how to play the drum during the songs.Dan was burning sweetgrass, sage, and cedar in a small pan to create a smudgeof smoke to purify and to symbolize the prayers floating upward. The tarp wasfilled with cases of soda, bottled water, and Styrofoam food containers. Aftersome introductory singing and prayers, we were given a small cup with berrysoup and rice; a cup of elk and vegetable soup; a drink; and a container of foodwith spaghetti and meat sauce, garlic bread, corn, watermelon, and chocolatecake.

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After we ate, the ceremony continued. Tom explained that the first four prayerswere to the great spirit, eagle spirit, the bear spirit, and the buffalo spirit. As Danuntied his bundle of colored pieces of cloth and held each piece over the smoke,Tom explained their meaning. White for everything. Green for the land. Red forancestors. Orange for sunset which carries your prayer from that day away.Yellow for sunrise. Blue for the mountains. Indigo or purple for the buffalo. The men were offered the opportunity to say a silent individual prayer andsmoke from each of the four large pipes of which were lit and carried to eachman by Dan. If you did not want to smoke, you could instead bless yourself bytouching the pipe to each shoulder. The women were twice given an opportunityto smoke from a smaller women’s pipe or use it to bless yourself and say aprayer. Songs were sung and prayers raised between the smoking of pipes.Either Tom or Rusty would explain what the song was about and sometimes atwhat point in the Sun Dance it was sung. Rusty explained that what he is singingis a prayer that is a mix of words and chanting. It starts as a specific song, but thesinger personalizes it with his own prayers. SUNDAY7Among others, we heard a song for the center pole of the Sun Dance, a song forwomen that Tom likened to a prayer to the Virgin Mary, songs for the horsespirit, and finally, after some scratching of heads and false starts, songs to singus out of the pipe ceremony. We came back to the church for a dinner of hamburgers and turkey burgers.Today was a full day! A wonderful day of memorable sights, scents, and tastes,and of learning and thoughtful conversation. All of my pre-trip apprehensionshave given way to a sense of peace and joy because we have such a cohesive,easy-going group of kind-hearted souls, who are simply eager to serve. I amgrateful to our generous leader, Mindy, and tour guide, Joe, and to each one ofour teammates. I look forward to the days ahead with you and our new Blackfeetfriends.

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Y o u ' v e g o t t a d a n c e l i k e t h e r e ' sn o b o d y w a t c h i n g ,L o v e l i k e y o u ' l l n e v e r b e h u r t ,S i n g l i k e t h e r e ' s n o b o d y l i s t e n i n g ,A n d l i v e l i k e i t ' s h e a v e n o n E a r t h .~William W. Purkey

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Vic, Mary, Eileen, Molly, and Greer went to the church and helped move booksfrom a dorm area to an adjoining closet. They used the “bucket brigade” methodand it went very quickly. After that, they went upstairs to the church anddiscussed the differences between the Blackfeet ceremony and the Sioux. Following this, they went to the annex where they prepared a room to be anoffice for two new pastors. This involved removing shelving units that includedunscrewing hundreds of screws. At first, they only had one power screwdriver,but eventually acquired more. After they were done with this, they loaded thelumber onto the back of the pickup truck. Mary, Kailey, and Ellie went to the middle school to learn what was required tolead the Girl Scout camp. We met Tiffany, the Girl Scout representative, and wentover the various aspects of the program. She indicated that 36 girls were signedup for the program. We decided that we needed to staff up this project andrecruited Pam, Ash, Greer, and Molly. We spent some time in the afternoonpreparing for the session tomorrow. 8JASONM O N D A YToday was our first day working on the Global Volunteers projects. We split upin order to manage the logistics of the day. It would be difficult to accuratelyaccount for all of the movement that happened today as it involved the Ranch,Middle School, Care Center, Eagle Shield Center, Annex, and Heritage Center. The work at the Eagle Shield Center is one of the core Global Volunteer projects.Jason, Indra, Zila, and Kaspars prepared meals for the residents andneighboring community members. They delivered about 70 meals and it wasvery meaningful for them to see how many members of the community live.

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Pam, Dan, Griffin, and Julia worked at the care center and had a wonderful timechatting and reading with the residents there. We held a team meeting and reviewed and rated how we are doing as a team.We all agreed that we were doing quite well. A group of us left to go to the sweat ceremony just before 6:00. We allparticipated in the offering part of the ceremony where we brought our offeringsof tobacco and sweet grass and offered up our prayer intentions. The groupsmoked pipes similar to the pipe ceremony yesterday. Then a few of us left whilethe remainder stayed in for the first part of the sweat. After the first part, a fewof us returned to the dorms for a late dinner while a group remained for the restof the ceremony. They said it was an amazing experience. It was a day filled with wonderful experiences. Another great day.MONDAY9

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11ELAINET U E S D A YOn Wednesday we started the day with pancakes and bacon. From there we allleft around 8:00. Vic and Greer went to the ranch where they stacked hay balesand played with the animals. After a while, they were moved to annex wherethey cleaned and made beds. Pam, Dan, Griffon, and Julia went to the college tolandscape but ended up assisting with a seminar on secondhand trauma. Therethey learned about the fight, flight, or freeze response and how to discharge theemotions it triggers. After that, they proceeded to do some landscaping work.Jason, Indra, Kaspars, and Zile arrived at Eagle Shield to help prepare the mealson wheels. From there, Jason went on the meals on wheels and Kaspars, Zile, and Indrahelped stack hay and played with horses and dogs at the ranch. Then at 11:00,they went back to Eagle Shield to serve lunch to the elders. At 1:00, all four wentto the annex to build beds and help clean. Eileen and Molly went immediately tothe annex where Eileen learned to use another power tool and they bothhelped fix up the bathrooms. Pam, Mary, Ellie, Kailey, Ash, and Mary ran the GirlScouts camp again. There they taught the Girl Scouts about the five senses andplayed a game related to each sense. In one game, the girls touched threedifferent things in boxes and were asked to describe them. In another, the girlssmelled objects and were asked to rate the smell. Almost all of them made newfriends and agreed that the camp was fun. After the day’s work, we met with Joe, who took us on a tour of east glacier.There we saw bison and visited a lodge where people bought snacks. After that,one group consisting of Eileen, Pam, and all the children returned to the churchwhere they waited for the other group that had continued the tour to arrive.Once they arrived, we all ate Indian tacos and a native artist visited and showedus some of his work.

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I f y o u a r e w o r k i n g o n s o m e t h i n ge x c i t i n g t h a t y o u r e a l l y c a r ea b o u t , y o u d o n ' t h a v e t o b ep u s h e d . T h e v i s i o n p u l l s y o u .~ Steve Jobs

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The group arrived in Starr School at the appointed time and saw the welcomesign of the carnies Winnebagoes and trucks come over the hill towing allmanner of carnival rides. The team cleared the grassy area of broken glass forthe inflatables (bouncy house, bouncy slide, bungee jumping, etc.) while thecarnival workers set up the mechanical rides. A little later our Blackfeet partnersshowed up with trucks filled with decorations, grills, food, tables, tents, andchairs. Many hands make light work, so set up was accomplished in record time.Youth Day opened promptly at 11:00 as advertised.Mary, Steve, and Clifford Bull Shoe grilled over 200 hot dogs and 100hamburgers. Clifford demonstrated an ingenious method of using a hair dryerplugged into an impossibly long household extension cord to fan the charcoalto speed along the cooking process. Allison helped Bernadette Yellow-Owl servethe food. 12JULIAW E D N E S D A YToday was a special day! Today was day 4 living in Heart Butte and working withthe community on the Blackfeet Reservation. Four is a sacred number. Thesweat lodge was four rounds. The four directions: north, south, east, west. There were three work projects today. Steve drove Mary, Pam, Amy, Diane, Ben,Ann, Allison, Elara, and Eileen to Starr School in a community a little north ofBrowning to help run the Starr School Youth Days. Deborah rode ‘shotgun’ inthe van. She noticed tires on the roof of houses. She asked Steve, “why werethere all these tires on the roofs?” He said they stored the extra tires on the roofsince they had no shed or garage.

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Pam, Eileen, Amy, Diane, Elara, Elly, and Ben kept the inflatables runningsmoothly under the hot sun. Youth Day included booths from various Blackfeetservice providers and organizations. Local DJs pumped out a great play listinterspersed with announcements of door prize winners. The highlight was thedog and doll parade where children marched around the main area displayingeither their dog or doll.In thinking about Youth Day, in comparison to the fearsome theme park rides weget to experience, some of the rides may have seemed somewhat simple and oldfashioned. But life is all about perspective. Our volunteerism at this event notonly put a smile on the children’s’ faces as we manned the bouncy houses orspinning rides, but also provided a lasting memory. Global Volunteers, as afamily, helped to bring something truly special to these children’s’ lives. Just likethem, we’ll never forget that.WEDNESDAY13Mindy drove the other group to Eagle Shield. Jeff and Nathan did some much-needed mowing and weeding while Hannah and Anna helped served theresidents lunch. Deborah went with Linda to deliver the Meals on Wheels route. After dinner, we received a visit from Bob Tailfeathers. He displayed his regaliaon the table. Bob sat down and silently waited for our group to gather, take theirseats, settle down, and give him our attention. Bob explained the pieces of hisregalia and showed the group several dances.

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Bob Tailfeathers told his story. He was married three times. He was divorcedthree times. He went to an elder to seek advice on what to do. The elderreminded him of the four directions: north, east, south, and west. The elder saidhe needed to get a fourth wife. He told his story about his battle with alcoholaddiction and his struggle to live in recovery. Recently, Bob celebrated thirty-three years of sobriety. Bob danced his recovery. He needed to be seen. Heneeded to be heard. He needed to dance. He needed to give us his generousspirit. We needed to witness his journey.For dinner we enjoyed another feast of fries with barbecue and cheese - aroutine of sorts that had us licking our plates. We wrapped up the evening by gathering around the fire.WEDNESDAY14

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Y o u o n l y l i v e o n c e , b u t i f y o u d o i tr i g h t , o n c e i s e n o u g h .~ Mae West

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Late this afternoon, we visited Darryl Norman, a Blackfeet elder and artist, whoshared some of his personal history and some of the local history, includingsocial and economic conditions, with us. Our appreciation circle reflected thegratitude, admiration, and respect that we feel for each other. This is a greatteam! Then we served at the Dancing in the Street party in the Glacier GroceryStore parking lot, from 6:30 p.m. to around 10 p.m. At first there weren’t manyparticipants, but then the place was packed and became a beehive of activities –bowling with large inflatable bowling pins, stick horse racing, basketball, and lotsof dancing, laughing, and running. Chris and Jeff’s many years of experiencevolunteering at their home church’s games and fairs came in very handy.Grayson and Jeff participated in the frozen t-shirt contest and each received asouvenir t-shirt and hat. Brody played basketball for hours. It was a lot of fun forus and for the kids and families.When we returned home, we fed the animals before going to bed.This morning, after our Morning Meeting and feeding the animals, Jeff andGrayson continued working on the fence. Brody, Cara, and Chris served at EagleShield and Tracy helped with the Meals on Wheels, which she found ratherchallenging because of the conditions at some of the homes. Julie served at theCare Center, which was slower today as the residents were recovering fromCasino Day, the day before. Jim, one of the residents, splurged and bought pizzafor everyone at the Care Center with his winnings.This afternoon all of us worked on the fence, which was very satisfying. Chris,Brody, Tracy, Cara, and Julie helped to dig holes so that Jeff and Grayson couldwork even faster on the other parts of the fence. It’s coming along very nicely.16BENT H U R S D A Y

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Grayson and Jeff set out to complete the fence project that seemedinsurmountable on Tuesday. By the end of the day, everyone on the team hadreturned to the ranch in order to help complete the fence project with the guys.Not even a thunderstorm which produced heavy rain for hours could stop thisdedicated group from completing the fence as everyone was determined to doanything it took to get it done before we left. A true sense of teamwork by all asrain, thunder, and lighting surrounded them, but determination persisted, andthe fence was completed by day’s end. After the lunch hour, we had the occasion to get acquainted with some of theindividuals eating there. An invaluable opportunity to connect one-on-one withBlackfeet people, to learn firsthand something of their lives and circumstances,and to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of their family and tribalhistories. My understanding and appreciation for their generosity of spirit andfriendly humility, the holy unity of their world view and the connection we allshare as people a part of this planet, grew exponentially. We may have differentlives with different circumstances, but there is much we share in common; we gggg 17CAROLYNF R I D A YThe journey has come to an end for this team of volunteers from differentlocations of the United States that came together for one week to help betterthe life of the people on Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana. Afterbreakfast and the regular morning meeting the group disbursed to various workassignments. I returned for the fourth day to serve at the Eagle Shield SeniorCenter kitchen helping to prepare about 70 hot four-course noon meals fordelivery to the homebound and serving up cafeteria style the same hot meal toapproximately 80 adults who live independently outside of the facility.

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have many of the same concerns and face many of the same issues. I begansome friendships there. At the end of the day, the entire team came together with a few guests for a finalmeal. Dan Wippert, one of the sweat lodge leaders, joined in and led us througha purifying smudge and prayer ceremony. He burned an aromatic smudge in atimeworn abalone shell that was passed round from person to person. As part ofthe ceremony, his hands washed the smoke it over head and body, all the whilesoftly praying in his native tongue. The smudge material is a combination of sageand other various leaves, roots, and plants gathered from the mountains andfields. Dan passed round a few of these components for us to see, sniff, and feel.As is the Blackfoot custom at a smudge, an offering was given; in this case, it wasa large piece of bright yellow cloth and types of tobacco. Dan created a special offering bundle by wrapping, folding, and twisting the clotharound the tobacco, again while softly praying. He passed the twisted bundlearound for our additional prayers and blessings. He led us out to the hillsidebehind the church and there tied the bright bundle around the bough of a darkrough pine tree. Offering bundles of many types can be spotted throughout thereservation and in the mountains and forests. After whispered prayers, we all went inside for our last supper. Elaine, ourgentle, cheerful kitchen dinner cook and her young daughter, Chezzy, hadprepared the makings for Indian Tacos using rounds of her homemade frybread.While Chezzy and her cousin gleefully chased each other about, Elaine showedus how to tear up the frybread to make it easier to eat, then we all dug in. Ourother guest, Bob Tailfeathers, celebration dancer and porcupine quill artist, alsobrought us a pot of homemade wild serviceberry soup along with bannockbread, both traditional Blackfoot fare. We feasted and finished supper bycelebrating Jamie’s 41st birthday in a mostly traditional way with a card, singing,and slices of huckleberry pie a’ la mode. FRIDAY18

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