Reservation for One

Two weeks ago I went to a Native American reservation with my co-worker. There aren’t any in the  South and since we do a  lot of business with them everyone at work thought I needed some “culture”. We went to a reservation in New Town, North Dakotanwhere the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes live.Here s a little background information “The Mandan call themselves “the People of the first  Man.” The Hidatsa were known as Minnetaree, or Gros Ventre. Hidatsa was formerly the name of a village occupied by these tribes, which has been said  to mean “willows.” The name Minnetaree, spelled in various ways, means “to cross the water.” Oral historians say the names “Arikara, Arickara, Ricarees, and Rees” were given to them by the Pawnee and other informants to describe the way they wore their hair. It is important to be mindful that the people call themselves Sahnish, which means, “the original people from whom all other tribes sprang.” Although sharing cultures and histories for so long, the people keep a distinct sense of tribal relationships.”

Symbol

This is a symbol on one of the mountains we passed on the way to New Town. It’s created by using lots of white rocks.

sign

The sign as we arrive in town.

I saw this in one of the gift shops. I think they wear it during pow wows or special celebrations.

I’ve never seen actual Native Americans before so this is what I pictured in my head:

Native American

Surprisingly that is what they looked like, only with current clothing. The men and women had long dark hair but only the men that I saw had it braided. They still had traditional names like Bear Claw, Wounded Face, and my personal favorite Iona Little White Man. (Yes, this is actually her name.)

They are a very laid back people. I was surprised when we went to the justice center there were no metal detectors, no one running round or in handcuffs. It was quite peaceful. People were sitting in the lobby watching television or talking. They also had a slight accent so you knew English wasn’t their first language. A few people commented on my accent as well. Gotta love that Southern twang.

It still amazes me that I got a chance to meet people I would have only heard about in history class. It was an eye opening experience and I can’t wait to go back, if my boss lets me.

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