Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wolf Point Mt to Culbertson Mt.

These are 3 new friends from Wolf Point that are on my list of folks that I want to see again. From L-R is L.C. Conner (Swedish with roots in Minnesota), Joe White Eagle (part German), and Tom Stafne (part Norwegian). All are the "sons" of Rusty Stafne chairman of the Fort Peck Indian tribes .
Rusty is the main man in the area and the kind of person that the governor makes sure to visit when he is in the area. I met Rusty and his wife during breakfast at the Sherman Inn in WP. They were very nice people and we had a good conversation about farming and ranching. It was only later when I met some of his family that I learned the standing Rusty has in the community. He is a very modest unassuming person, and loved by his boys who as I understand it he basically adopted and raised. I want to go back and spend some more time with Rusty if at all possible.
I spent some great time with the 3 amigos and they did thier best to teach me things I did not know, like new Assiniboine Indian words.
I know I am not spelling all these words correctly but this will provide an idea of what I learned Shunka = dog, shunka-tonga= horse (like a large dog), peokanoga (sp?) = crazy with a hole in his head (like a old fat guy biking across country), d'toknia= where are you going?, yatga=to drink, and Budlite=steak in a can (we were discussing the nurtitional value of various beverages). I trust that they were not bullshitting me in any way--they all claimed to be "Honest Indians".

I learned that next weekend's Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede is a huge deal in eastern Montana and that for many years Rusty was the champion of the competition. One of the events that I do not quite understand (despite the repeated efforts of my guys to educate me) is the Wild Horse Stampede which involves a wild horse being let out of a shoot into the arena with 3 guys who rope it put a saddle on it and then ride it through a course . It sounded like a hell of a deal and I hope to actually see it one day.

Outside Culbertson Mt is what looks like a small museum but when you get inside it is suprisingly huge and just packed full of stuff that depicts the last 100 years of life in this part of the country. It is very well presented and I could have spent a lot more time in there just absorbing. There is a very nice lady named Ella Mae Iverson working there that will fill you in on anything you want to know. Actually every 5 minutes she would stop by and ask if I had any questions or needed any info on anything. I was so into just checking everything out that I had no questions but after 5 or 6 of these visits, Ella seemed so disapointed that I finally asked her name and got a 300 word reply that included a bunch of the building's history.
Ella Mae's single minded eagerness to help a visitor reminded me so much of the Worch Memorial Library in Versailles where the customer friendly ladies are constantly making sure that any question by patrons is promptly answered. I always feel smarter when leaving the Worch library.
Anyway there was a bunch of stuff to look at and read about in this museum which I will cover in later post.

I was not sure what a Simmental was so I rode up the lane to Big Jim's and asked. I learned they are a breed of cow and felt kindastupid for not already knowing that.

This was a scene seen from the lane leading to Big Jim's ranch and I thought it worthy of a pic.That old threshing machine reminded me of a large insect .
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