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Not in Kansas anymore

August 23, 2008

If I ever make Lame Deer out to seem like a sleepy little backwater, don’t believe me.  I can hear the words to “Stuck in the middle with you” pouring through my windows right now from a rock concert taking place downtown.  The concert’s been going on for a couple of hours now.  Why am I not there, you ask?  Not in the mood, I guess.  There will be plenty of activities for me to get involved with in the upcoming school year, so I’m not in a rush to participate in every event under the southeastern Montana sun (or moon, as it were).

One unique aspect to the concert I’m listening to is that it began with a traditional Cheyenne drum song.  I could hear the drums beating and the voices calling out around 8pm or so when it started.  I was curious as to what was going on, and slightly surprised to realize it was the opening of a show. 

But then again, this place is full of surprises to the history book-wired mind.  No matter how much time I spend here, I still sometimes expect Native Americans to be “different.”  Curses to the writers and publishers of textbooks that portray Indians as a people of the past.  They are very much alive today, and very much modern, with an excellent sense of humor about what the white world has done to them.  

For example, check this out:

And their culture is certainly not static, stuck in 1820, or whenever the last date of their mention in high school history class:

Fancy dancing and break dancing.  Traditional drumming and rock
drumming.  It's no more a corruption of culture than white people doing
yoga or eating lentils.  It's the natural evolution of a people as they
adapt to an ever-changing world.

P.S. "Commod cheese" refers to the starchy, fatty, government-issued food products
the BIA provided as subsidies to Indians.

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