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Director's Report July 2006

  • PPL Montana questioned the yet un-allocated monies from their earlier grant to the Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission that had been destined for signage at the Great Falls Airport. The Little Shell Tribe had taken the lead in designing those signs that would have included some history and culture of each Montana Tribe.
    NOTE: During the July 21st Commission meeting PPL Montana did request those funds be returned to them for use in their grants program. The Little Shell Tribe may or may not be granted any funds through that program.

  • I was on vacation from July 4 through July 6th.

  • On July 7th I made my first appearance as a speaker in the Tent of Many Voices as I was invited to present while Corps II was in Browning. I talked generally about the programs undertaken by the state Commission since our start in 1997. I also spent part of my day taking in the North American Indian Days Powwow in Browning.

  • On July 9th I participated in the closing ceremony at Travelers’ Rest State Park. Local recognition awards were presented, followed by the official dedication of the National Landmark Designation for Travelers’ Rest (the boundaries were changed to be on the West side of Hwy. 93; the current location of Travelers’ Rest State Park). I, along with Governor Schweitzer, spoke during the dedication ceremonies.

  • In preparation of the July 21st meeting of our state Commission, I prepared Budget Review, Task Completed, Tasks to be Completed, and Director Reports.

  • Kim Briggeman with the Missoulian called and wanted updates on the Clark on the Yellowstone and Lewis & Clark in Blackfeet Country events.

  • Kira Gale called me on July 19th to tell me about an article that had just appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It was apparent to me that the author had not bothered to even partake of any Lewis & Clark activities during the Bicentennial. A response was briefly considered, however given the obvious lack of capacity of understanding of the author, it was decided to not waste my time in that way.

  • The final meeting of the state Commission took place on July 21st. Two main items consumed much discussion. One was the eventual decision to have the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation be the host (and administrator) of the Commission’s Legacy Grants Program. The second was a vote to loan more monies to the Senate Art Project from future sales of the Lewis & Clark license plates. When the sales of maquettes and medallions replenish the funds, the Legacy Grants Program will be started. A 13-minute “Montana Bicentennial in Review” DVD/Slide Show was shown, and a special awards ceremony was held to recognize the many folks in the public and private sectors who contributed so much in time and manpower over the past 3 ½ years. It was hard to say “good-bye” to so many friends during this last meeting!

  • And, then it was time to participate in the Clark on the Yellowstone National Signature Event at Pompeys Pillar. The new BLM Interpretive Center was dedicated on July 22nd, and with so many performance venues to choose from it was easy to learn about many aspects of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Some estimates indicated as many as 15,000 people attended this event on each day of July 22nd and 23rd; it was deemed a successful Signature Event by most attending with attendance estimated at 47,000 for the four days. I had to leave and wasn’t able to attend on July 24th and 25th (the National Day of Honor with some 100 fully decorated Crow horses and riders expected to participate in a parade).
    NOTE: This event is now “in the books,” and I can report that days 3 & 4 were had also great attendance. The Parade of Honor and the closing ceremonies were SUPER, and the fly-over by the Black Hawks was in time with the retiring of the flags. I just learned that 5,000 bottles of water were ordered, and less than 500 were returned unopened (it was over 100+ degrees during the event!). It was hot, but the heat didn’t keep folks away! Good job to Robbie and Melody, the Congressional staffs, and the many agency partners and volunteers who pulled this off!

  • The Lewis & Clark in Blackfeet Country event (July 26-29) is now taking shape as four day symposium to look at the Blackfeet “encounter” with Captain Lewis on July, 27, 1806. Special tours will be made to Camp Disappointment and the Fight Sight during this event. Bryant Boswell met with George Heavy Runner at Pompeys Pillar recently to discuss how Bryant should portray Captain Lewis during this four-day symposium.
    NOTE: The event is now in the past tense, as I did attend on July 26 & 27. I personally believe the Blackfeet did succeed in honoring their fallen tribal youths (I was surprised to find out that in 200 years these two Blackfeet have never been honored by the Tribe), and in offering a good symposium event. The first day featured the Commission’s own Darrell Kipp offering some very timely comments about looking forward and not dwelling on the past, and by Craig Falcon (a direct descendant of a man at the incident 200-years ago) who said he still carries some anger over the incident. The Discovery Expedition of St. Charles’ Bryant Boswell, portraying Captain Lewis, did a very nice job in his presentations to say that he couldn’t apologize for Captain Lewis after 200 years, but that he wanted to encourage reconciliation in the present, and will tell both sides of the “Encounter” from now on. The remaining two days will focus on treaties entered into (and then broken) since the time of Lewis & Clark. A musical presentation will be made by Rob Quist on Friday evening.

    Was the event successful? Not if you focused solely on the number of people attending any one of the activities. But in my mind the right people were there. The elders and tribal council of the Blackfeet were at each activity, and were honored and gifts exchanged between the Blackfeet Tribe, National Park Service, the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, the Circle of State Advisors, and the National Council of the Bicentennial. As the Director of the Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission, I was able on two occasions to publicly acknowledge and thank those in attendance, and to say that this event completed one of the major goals set by the state Commission in being participants in a meaningful reconciliation event for the Blackfeet (the other was the successful Powwow with Salish Indians in the Fall of 2005). The Great Falls Tribune covered all the events on the front page of their newspaper, and reported accurately and unbiased citing the incident of 200-years ago. The paper captured the spirit with which this reconciliation event was held. Bryant Boswell succeeded in my mind in conveying his inner most feelings, but did stop short of offering an apology for Captain Lewis, which as I mentioned earlier would have been inappropriate. The Blackfeet for the first time paid tribute to the young hunters with the Prayer Flag laid in the area where they fell.

  • This is my last Director’s Report, as my last day with the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission is July 31, 2006. This is probably not news to most of you who read these monthly reports. However, let me say one more time how special and unique this job has been! I have met many, many wonderful folks along the L&C Trail in Montana (and in other states), and my fondest hope would be to stay in contact. I won’t say “good-bye,” but will say that we all should “Proceed On” into our next adventure, and look forward to when we meet again. Take care! Clint
 

 


 

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