Cultural Immersion Project: Part 3
Cultural Immersion Project: Part 3
Montana is home to six Indian Reservations and their tribes: The Blackfeet Reservation, home for the Blackfeet tribe; Crow Reservation for the Crow tribe; Flathead Reservation, home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes; Fort Belknap Reservation, home for the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes; Fort Peck Reservation, which is home for the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes; Little-Shell, which is not a Reservation, is home to a state recognized tribe of a band of Chippewa that has no designated reservation; Northern Cheyenne Reservation, home the Northern Cheyenne tribe; and the Rocky Boy Reservation, which is home for the Chippewa-Cree tribe. Living in central Montana, the closest Reservation is the Crow Reservation, but it is hours away. I was fortunate to locate one biracial youth in my local public school with Native American heritage. Additionally, having attended a Native American training through the Tribal Leaders Council I was also able to interview a member of the Assiniboine tribe. As a result, I was able to contact and interview two individuals before completing Part three of the Cultural Immersion Project. This was an interesting portion of the project as I was able to locate to individuals with very different backgrounds. Background of Interviewees
Estevan is a 17-year-old multiracial individual with ties to the Salish tribe along with some Hispanic heritage. He was removed from his family at approximately the age of four. He remembers attending one Powwow in Arlee, Montana where he was separated from other children to be given instruction in the Native language. Although, he knows none of his Native American tongue, he claims when he lived at home and at a young age, he spoke fairly fluent Spanish. Unfortunately, he is no longer able to recall the Spanish language. He believes he was removed from his home based on a complaint his grandmother made to either the police or social services. Yet when his family called police on an uncle, grandma became offended and as a result, that relationship is strained. Estevan has spent the majority of his childhood in foster care. Some of those homes were located on or near his reservation, but he does not believe the families were of Native American heritage as he received no instruction in his Native American culture and was not given the opportunity to attend any cultural events. As a result, when asked with what ethnicity he identifies with, he will tell you “Mexican.” William (Bill) Snell Jr. aka Walks with the Pipe aka Brave Hawk Bill is approximately 64-years old and was originally enrolled in the Assiniboine and Crow tribes, but in the 1960s, dual enrollment was not allowed and his parents chose to keep him enrolled with the Crow tribe. As the child of a Federal worker, he spent time on multiple reservations such as Rocky Boy and Crow Reservation until they finally remained on the Fort Belknap Reservation, home to the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre. Bill has a wonderful and historical genealogy as his Great Grandmother was Pretty Shield, medicine woman for the Crow tribe. Her husband and Bill’s Great Grandfather was Goes Ahead, also a medicine man for the Crow tribe, but he also served as a chief scout for the 7th Calvary under General Custer. Bill does not know much of his Native language(s) as the Native tongue was spoken only in private. This is because in the past, if found talking in their Native language, they would be beaten. Bill has three names, his White or English name, his Assiniboine name (Walks with the Pipe), and his Crow name (Brave Hawk).
I found both individuals to be very open, Bill a little more so. Estevan believing he had been removed from his family from a “White” woman seemed to be a little more reserved. This may be because he is an adolescent that has lived in...
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