Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Catching up and Crow Fair

I let time get away from me and neglected my blog, but after a very busy year, I'm back to it again. I will spend the next days getting caught up on what I've been doing, as I think much is of interest to others.
This summer, I'm finishing the manuscript for a book about Indians and horses, and my research for that book has taken me to special places in Montana, in books, and in my mind and spirit. For thousands of years, Plains Indians had no horses. When the Spanish came in the late 1500s, they brought horses with them, and by about 1750, all the Plains Indians had them, revolutionizing their cultures.
My first journey for this book was to Crow Agency, in southeastern Montana, for the annual August Crow Fair, nicknamed "The Teepee Capital of the World" because of the more than 1,000 teepees pitched there for the celebration. Indians from all over the U.S. and Canada come to participate in the rodeo and races and to socialize, and Crow families gather to catch up with their loved ones. Every morning the Crow people parade proudly through the camp, dressed in their finest outfits, riding their beautiful horses. It's a delightful occasion, and an opportunity to experience how this tribe has maintained its close relationship to horses despite all the horrors its people suffered as European Americans took over the prairies. My favorite part of the experience was watching the young people riding through camp bareback and hanging out on their horses around the rodeo grounds.

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