Driving more than three hours down Highway 212 to Lame Deer, Montana, gave us a good sense of why this area is called Big Sky country. We picked out a couple of buttes on the horizon and tried to guess the distance we could see.
Everyone underestimated the 15 miles before we got to that spot, and the hills in the distance were over twice that far. We had long stretches between towns. We stopped along the way to chronicle the students’ crossing into Wyoming and Montana, many for the very first time.
Crossing the Powder and Tongue Rivers reminded me of traditional Lakota hunting grounds as well as several battles during the Indian Wars of the 19th century.
We arrived in Lame Deer in time to take in the powwow sponsored by the local Boys & Girls Club. Much of the ritual and ceremony was familiar. One unique aspect of the Cheyenne dance was the Native American men rattling gourds while they danced in a transfixing beat.
During the afternoon break, the tribal health office sponsored a fun walk around the community. We got to enjoy a sunny afternoon, take a stroll, and take home a lovely souvenir T-Shirt from the Northern Cheyenne tribe for our efforts.
We hoped our girls group of St. Joseph’s girls could take part in an inipi (purification or sweat lodge) ceremony, but winds and rain canceled our plans. After taking in the evening Grand Entry at the powwow, we headed to the campground, grilled some hot dogs and hit the bunk tired but satisfied.