Friday, February 21, 2014

Duckwater: Spring Festival Mat 17-19, 1985

When I worked for the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, we decided to start holding a yearly festival.  Virginia Sanchez, Kathleen Graham and I particularly made it part of our job functions to put together the festival.  This was a big task, and involved lots of fund raising.  I kept soda and candy in a drawer at work for people to come and purchase for fund raising.  Virginia, who worked with the school focused on the youth activities, and Kathleen and I focused more on the adult activities. 
   The festival started with a traditional dance Friday night.  We had a big bonfire going and a couple people to play drums.  This included Danny Millett.  Danny Millett was a tribal elder.  He also had a wash board type board he would use to make the sound of a bear sharpening his claws for the bear dance.  The dancing included a couple of community wide round dances.  We could have had more energy, but we had a very fun time.
   Saturday was very busy of course.  It started with an early morning chuck wagon breakfast.  Sheri and I helped with the food.
   There had been several shelters constructed poles and pine boughs and people could set up under to sell craft items, or like a bazaar.
Danny and Lillian Millett

   We had several activities planned for Saturday.  The school put on the traditional youth hand game tournament.  The kids from Duckwater didn't do very well.  The school principle ran some children's games and gave out prizes.
   I put together, and participated in a horse shoe pitching tournament.  I did OK for a few rounds but really didn't last very long in the tourney.   We also organized arm wrestling and pool tournaments.  We were also going to do a ping pong tournament but there wasn't enough interest. 
   The big event of the day was the big pot luck and barbecue.  The tribe sponsored the meat which was a beef cooked under ground.  It was excellent.  Mitch Maes was in charge of the roasting of the meat. 
   After the meal we had a Western dance, while others continued to play hand game and card all night.  These were gambling games played by the adults.  Sheri and I enjoyed the dance for a while, but we retired early compared to most as festivities continued all night.
   There was a breakfast the next day, but Sheri and I didn't help with this. 
   Sunday we didn't have church until the afternoon to allow things to calm down, and for the festivities to be picked up.
   A wrote a paragraph in my journal at the time.  "The Spring Festival we very well and it wasn't too much of a pain as I though it was going to be.  It was pretty fun in fact, except for breakfast which I was preparing by myself for a while."
Duckwater still has an annual event, although it is held later in the year.  May the weather can still be nippy in Duckwater.

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