Welcome to Katie's Travel Blog. This is really Jenny-doesn't-get-to-travel blog where I (mom) keep track of Katie's adventures so I can have some vicarious enjoyment! Here's a look at what one globally-aware kid from little Santa Cruz, California gets to do these days if her mom's willing to keep working!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 5, Friday, July 15: Brocket, Alberta

I think six girls are in here? That's big!
Katie's tipi for last night and tonight.
Talked with Katie last night as they had some free time. Sounded like things were going smoothly if not a little more "boring" at First Nation (my sense was that things have slowed down a bit).

Looks like the Buffalo Jump is the big thing today. It is so ingenious and tragic at the same time. I found a great tour on the web - link posted below.

UPDATE - the note from Lyly (came later due to lack of wi-fi!)
Today we arrived at the Tipi Camp. There is a tipi village set in the middle of an open field surrounded by rolling hills as far as you can see. It is so peaceful and beautiful. The students were given free time to just run around and play. Many enjoyed playing Frisbee, soccer, and "Ninja". I think they quite enjoyed the freedom. 
After lunch, we were split into two groups. One group went to learn how to put up a tipi. Brian, one of the Blackfoot instructors, is an expert on tipi building. He instructed 3-4 students at a time thru each process until the tipi was fully constructed. It was awesome to see the finished product. Fun Fact: Do you know why different parts of a tipi are referred to by body parts? ie: ribs, ears, skeleton, etc. The Blackfoot refer to human parts because they feel a tipi is a member of their family. The tipi shelters and protects them, so they show it respect by referring to it by human body parts. 
The second group went to art class. Katie, the instructor, taught students about how First Nations People record things that have happened throughout one year on a "Winter Account". This is a story painted in a spiral on the back of a buffalo hide. Students were then given paper and pencils to create a "Winter Account" of their People to People experience thus far. Some students are very creative and have artistic skills. 
After rotating both groups thru the stations, our delegation sat down to listen to an Elder of the tribe speak. It was a lady. She told Blackfoot stories and legends like "Napi,the Trickster". Everyone enjoyed her stories and asked many questions about the First Nations people. 
Students really got into asking questions about owls. Apparently seeing an owl is considered bad luck. If an owl moves into your area, it is a sign of bad things to come. The students had a great time asking the Elder all kinds of questions about good vs bad omens. The main thing we learned is that owls of every color are a sign of bad luck to come but white owls are a sign of good things to come. 
Finally evening arrived and everyone was excited to sleep in the tipis. The wind was blowing extremely hard through the hills when we went to bed. It was a little scary with the wind howling, canvases flapping, and the ropes creaking on the poles. Regardless, was a great first day at Tipi Camp!
People to People Itinerary
Today you will experience a Blackfoot Sweat Lodge ceremony. The sweat lodge, or purification ceremony, is a mild ceremonial sauna. It is a rare privilege to partake in this exclusive ritual.

You will have the opportunity to hear an elder recite old stories from the prewritten era of the Blackfoot history.

Study the history of the local First Nations at the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump. Cool narrated tour with 360 video here.

Afterwards, head back to your camp to enjoy drumming and dancing with friends from the Piikani Nation.

Tonight you will experience a traditional First Nation's meal dining on buffalo.

And they are still under mosquito watch!

This is the actual museum. They built it into the side of the cliffs.

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