Most teachers do not take students on a 4 day camping trip the first week of the school year, but the time was right to take kids on a road trip to Glacier National Park. Yes, there were fires. Yes, it snowed. But the juniors and seniors braved the chilly and sometimes wet weather on our Great Northern Adventure and learned a great deal about some of Montana’s indigenous people and the landscapes they call home. We visited the Flathead and Blackfeet reservations and learned from tribal elders about the issues concerning their people in the past and present.
But I think, if we asked the kids which bit of new information they valued the most, there would be a unanimous response: Doubleball. Doubleball is a traditional Native American game we learned from Nick Fink, a Blackfeet tribal member and teacher at Browning Alternative School. We learned that games like Doubleball were often used to settle disagreements in order to avoid warfare between tribes. The game is fast-paced, short on rules, and at times violent, but everyone returned to GHS unharmed and more enlightened. We will continue to learn more about the Salish, Kootenai, Pend d’Oereille, and Blackfeet tribes, focusing a great deal of time on tribal sovereignty.