Elders Week at Two Eagles River School for all ages

Print Article

  • JOE SORRELL, Jr. takes a shot with a bow at the Elder Olympics held at Pablo. His young partner Omar Medina cheers him on. (Carolyn Hidy photos/Lake County Leader)

  • 1

    CARRIE IRVINE gives it the old college try, aiming a football for a hoop in the Two Eagle River School Elder Olympics.

  • 2

    NKWUSM SALISH Language School Cultural Specialist Allen Pierre tends the fire, in an all-day process of smoking elk meat for the next day’s powwow. “We rely on the smoke, not the flame, to give it that flavor,” he says.

  • 3

    RITA ADAMS and Jayah Pierre shared the day. One of the Elder Olympics stations was this photo session, with a student-made quilt as the background. (Carolyn Hidy photos/Lake County Leader)

  • JOE SORRELL, Jr. takes a shot with a bow at the Elder Olympics held at Pablo. His young partner Omar Medina cheers him on. (Carolyn Hidy photos/Lake County Leader)

  • 1

    CARRIE IRVINE gives it the old college try, aiming a football for a hoop in the Two Eagle River School Elder Olympics.

  • 2

    NKWUSM SALISH Language School Cultural Specialist Allen Pierre tends the fire, in an all-day process of smoking elk meat for the next day’s powwow. “We rely on the smoke, not the flame, to give it that flavor,” he says.

  • 3

    RITA ADAMS and Jayah Pierre shared the day. One of the Elder Olympics stations was this photo session, with a student-made quilt as the background. (Carolyn Hidy photos/Lake County Leader)

“We learn best at the feet of our elders.”

With this timeless message, Two Eagle River School brought youth and elders together to enjoy each other’s company for the last week of school, a school tradition since 1974. There were so many activities to share in both traditional and newer ways, that there was something everyone could shine in, or just enjoy watching and taking in the laughter and kindness shared between generations.

A day at Blue Bay on Flathead Lake was full of sunshine and relaxation, plus outdoor fun and adventure, including canoe races, bingo, a pie eating contest, fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding.

AND THEN there was the new tradition, only a few years old — painting elders’ fingernails. Home Cultures teacher, Kathy Tapia explained that a few years ago, a professional manicurist brought her supplies to the lake picnic and had a long line of people all day. Since then, students have carried on the effort, a popular way to spend a moment serving and connecting with their elders.

The next day, the Elder Olympics got underway. It was less a competition, and more of just a way to hang out together. Elders were paired with students, and visited several stations around and inside the school, including basketball free throws, horseshoes, archery, photos in the library, throwing a football through a ring, and even rolling dice. After trying each activity, elders received beads to add to a bracelet commemorating the day. With their younger partners, they shared time, laughter, stories, and most importantly, kindness.

But one thing they weren’t sharing — their secret fry bread recipes. Four intrepid bakers took on the challenge of the fry bread contest. One told of realizing late in life she should learn how her mother made fry bread before it was too late. Another learned from a tribal elder. First place went to Judy Andrew, with Maxine Michelle second, Joan Miller third.

THE LAST day included playing the stick game, a dinner, and a powwow with dancing, honors, and a give-away for all the participants.

Some words of wisdom from the elders:

“People ask me how I have stayed so long at this job,” says Home Cultures teacher Kathy Tapia, after more than three decades. “I tell them, because it’s not a job.”

Allen Pierre, Cultural Specialist at Nkwusm in Arlee, who brought their students to the event: “Whether you’re native or non-native, education is the key to life,” he says. “We learn how to adapt to two ways of learning.”

Print Article

Read More Local News

Charlo man dies in golf cart wreck

July 18, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Daily Inter Lake A Charlo man died in a two-vehicle accident Tuesday afternoon. According to information from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, 84-year-old John Wesley Gardner, of Charlo, died of injuries he suffere...

Comments

Read More

Montana has its own version of wine country

July 18, 2019 at 11:53 am | Lake County Leader Editor’s Note: This is the first feature story of a two-part series Sometimes it takes a bit of a fanatic to make something big happen. For making Montana into a producer of excellent wines a...

Comments

Read More

Ronan Farmers Market brings back Tote Bag Challenge

July 18, 2019 at 11:54 am | Lake County Leader Back by popular demand, the 2019 Tote Bag Challenge kicked off Thursday evening at the weekly Ronan Farmers Market. Customers can earn a free tote bag by purchasing $25 worth of goods at the farm...

Comments

Read More

84-year-old man dies retrieving his mail

July 18, 2019 at 11:52 am | Lake County Leader An 84-year old man using his golf cart to retrieve his mail was struck and killed on Logan Road near Charlo Tuesday afternoon, July 16. Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Noah Pesola reported that a 200...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 883-4343
PO BOX 1090
Polson, MT 59860

©2019 Lake County Leader Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X