People’s Center hosts Native American week
By Lailani Upham
A girl takes it to the limit that “girls can do anything” in a game of Shinny and braces the ball until she gains control. (Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — Despite the one rained out day for the annual Native American week celebration at the People’s Center, hundreds of students passed through to get a taste and an encounter of some Native culture last week.
Students from the valley and as far as Big Fork and Swan River schools brought busloads of youngsters along with a few parents.
Vance Home Gun tells stories and teaches young students a few words and phrases in Salish. Students engaged happily and responded back correctly in the short time spent in the teaching circle. (Lailani Upham photo)
Marie Torosian, Educator for the People’s Center, said the Center has been celebrating the week since mid 1990’s when the Center was housed in basement at a bank in Pablo.
In 1976, Native American Awareness week was recognized by President Gerald Ford to renew the spirit of the past 200 years of the contributions of Native tribes.
Polson middle school boys high five each other after a team member make a right guess at the “bones.” (Lailani Upham photo)
“The culture and heritage of our Native Americans are unique. In renewing the spirit and determined dedication of the past 200 years we should also join with our Native Americans in rebuilding an awareness, understanding and appreciation for their historical role and future participation in our diverse American society. We should do so with the same spirit and dedication which, fostered with reliance on Divine Providence and with firm belief in individual liberty, kindled and made a reality of the hopes for a new life for all who inhabited this land,” Ford stated.
Students take turns scraping hide at the tanning station. (Lailani Upham photo)
Over the years the celebration has been carried on in spite of cuts and hard-to-find funding. Volunteers from Two Eagle, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Salish Kootenai College, and businesses such as Mission Valley Power have been rich with help to keep the education and experience happening for the surrounding schools.
The dry meat station draws lots of questions of the process along with eager taste buds. Bryce Finley, a volunteer from Mission Valley Power, took part in the not only smoking the meat but also on the hunt of two deer and elk. The entire game fed hundreds of students last week. (Lailani Upham photo)
Tribal elders guide the People’s Center’s philosophy and existence in order to ensure a continuation of the culture of the tribes on the Flathead Reservation.
The People’s Center offers presentations, events, museum tours and a gift shop. Hours of operation from October through May are 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, call (406) 675-0160.