Day 5 Browning 2016
In honor of it being the one and only Day 5, we all woke up at five in the morning. We then proceeded to clean up the bunkhouse while meditating on the meaning of life. We then hopped into the van and car and dance partied our way the school. We all took part in making the most scrumptious breakfast whilst bumpin’ the tunes for the students. We were making such a fabulous breakfast so that the children would be well nourished before the infamous MAP testing. All of the children departed to their rooms and, for once, settled to a semi-low roar, sounding similar to the distant rolling thunder of the rainy season. After Mr. H fixed any and all technical issues with the iPads, the students began testing and we started to settle in to the first peaceful activities of the week, including pastel drawings and reading of literature. Suddenly, our ruthless leader, Dan, violently tore us away from the one peaceful moment we had experienced all week. Dan was able to make up for his violent actions by taking us to a super interesting speaker named Darren Kipp. After a week where it can be easy to become discouraged by all of the struggles and hardships that these people have to go through, Darren was able to instill hope in our hearts before we headed home. His father, Darrell Kipp, started the school Cut Woods to save the Blackfeet language. They’re goal was to take around 20-25 children and immerse them into the language and culture in their lessons and games that they play during the day. Then, you know, we carried on with the normal school day…oh my goodness I forgot we went to mass before that! The mass was hosted by the seventh grade class. The students crushed the final song, belting out the refrain to Eagle’s Wings. After enjoying a nutritious lunch and blowing off steam at recess, the students prepared to take the reading portion of the MAP tests. By the time they were done, it was time for us to head out. We said goodbyes and had lots of hugs and fist-bumps with the students and teachers before hitting the road. We made one more stop on the way out of town to the Cut Woods school that Darren had told us about. We were able to get a tour of the classrooms and kitchen while we were explained how each day goes for the students. They told us about how it’s not only the language that the students learn, but also the traditional games. Another important aspect of their education is to talk to elders in order to save and preserve the whole Blackfeet culture. Before leaving the school, we were able to listen to Robert Hall, one of the teachers. We were all captivated by the amazing conversation about the Pikani (Blackfeet) language, and our desire to understand grew tremendously.
We piled back into the cars for our trek home to Helena, saying goodbye to two of our own along the way. We left with a mission. The De la Salle children and the Pikani people left a mark on our hearts and we know this was only a “see you later” not a “goodbye.”
Colter and Anna