NAIL Sapa Dawn -Big Bear Pow-Wow

Big Bear Pow Wow-California July 18th-20th
Sundance-Pine Ridge-South Dakota July 22nd-25th
Indigenous Environmental Network-Ft-Belknap, Montana August 4th-7th

*** Pow-Wow:
This has to be one of the biggest trips we have taken with so many youth! This took a good six weeks in preparing with getting vehicles repaired. We managed to do a few fundraising events selling fry bread. Some even sold fireworks to raise money.

First destination was to Big Bear City, California. A pow-wow which was being put together with the help of Fay Roman and Marie Tekubie. We departed on July 16th. Wauhilla & Bahno Simmons were chosen as head girl and boy dancer. We also were able to set up a concession stand to sell fry bread and Indian tacos.

The trip started out smoothly... once we decided what vehicles to take. We rented a u-haul to make room for passengers in the vans and cars. We arrived in Reno, Nevada about 1:00 am and let the kid tour the city. We got some rooms and headed out early in the morning. Our Sapa Dawn van broke down. The transmission gave out, probably from hauling the u-haul! This happened in the desert. In the best interest of the little ones, we got a few motel rooms, not really knowing how long it would take to repair the transmission. With the desert heat a pool was a must to cool down the little ones. The cost of repairing a transmission in the desert was enormous! This not only set us back financially but also time wise! We had to get to the pow-wow! We realized this was just the beginning of our troubles. We still had to face another 1,000 miles on the road! We made it to Big Bear! The youth knew the financial situation we were in, so all of them got in the concession stand, selling pop, making fry bread, chili. All of them did a tremendous job in helping out. Those that weren't in the kitchen helped out with the kids in camp. We were able to raise some money back from this small business. Everyone was determined to see the whole trip out! We left Big Bear on to the sundance.

*** Red Shirt Table Sundance. Pine Ridge South Dakota
Sundance - we left the pow-wow in Big Bear. Leaving the grounds, we had to travel down from 14,000 elevation. Coming down from this big mountain was an adventure! We figured Sapa Dawn van which was pulling the u-haul would first, then the Chief Leschi van which was also loaded, then the two cars. Almost down the mountain, we ran into trouble! The brakes caught on fire in the Leschi van! Quickly we unloaded all passengers, but we had no water or fire extinguishers close by... They were all loaded in the u-haul. Frantically we threw dirt on the tires to put out the fire! As soon as we reached the bottom of the mountain we fed the kids and reloaded. Putting the water and extinguishers by the doors! (by now the kids are learning how to unload and load) It was smooth sailing into Arizona then Colorado, on the outside of Denver the van gave out again! We had to drive all over looking for parts, while the crew waited at rest areas.

Naturally we are in a ski resort tourist area, so all the shops are closed early. Luckily a gas station sold us the part!!

We were finally ready for the sundance! Made it to Pine Ridge. Seeing other family members, we were overjoyed! We made camp at Red Shirt Table and prepared for the four day ceremony. It was Wauhilla's fourth year as tree girl, so we had to prepare for her giveaway along with a few of the four year sundancers. The ceremony was so overwhelming that some of the other youths wanted to dance the last two day. Unfortunately we were unable to contact their parents to get permission. But those who were able to make contact did dance. They found it to be very uplifting and to this day believe it has helped them in their life. We had the giveaway for Wauhilla and Robert Daniels, who was a four year dancer. We then ended the event with a display of fireworks. Getting ready for our journey home, some of the SDC members who traveled in from Washington had car trouble also. Their truck broke down and they were unable to fix it thus leaving it for the dealership to take.

We discussed if we should just head for home or attempt to attend the I.E.N. conference being held in Fort Belknap,, Montana. Everyone agreed to attend the conference. We took the youth to the Black Hills, Crazy Horse Mountain, Deadwood, Sturgis, MT. Rushmore. We made camp in Custer, South Dakota at the Flinstone park. By now, all the kids have become one big family, knowing what their responsibilities are and doing it.

*** Indigenous Environmental Network Conference
We received some gas money to attend the I.E.N. from a scholarship we applied for. We were one of the first group to come into the conference, so our crew got in and helped with getting the arbor shaded, cutting wood, scraping teepee poles and cooking. Many of our crew did security during the conference while some attended the many workshops offered. We were able to participate in the youth groups and talk about Sapa Dawn center. Some even entered the talent show. We stayed for the 4 day event. Then headed for home.

This was a very educational and enduring trip. on the trip. It became a whole awakening for everyone. Today, they still talk of this outrageous trip.

At this point of the travel report special, acknowledgements go to those who participated. It was a very educational experience. Many of the ones that went, never even traveled out of the State of Washington. For at risk youth, this trip was to give insight to what is happening with other Nations and the environment. It was a social, spiritual & political trip!

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