By JoVonne Wagner, Climate Change Intern, Blackfeet Environmental Office
During the annual Heart Butte Indian Days Celebration, some of us (the Climate Change Interns) put together two truck floats for the powwows traditional Saturday morning parade. The celebration usually lands on the first or second weekend in August. The parade route winds through the few streets that make up the small neighborhood and community. Heart Butte is about thirty miles south from Browning- the Blackfeet Reservation’s headquarters. Just like Native American Indians Days that is held at Browning’s campground and usually lands on the second weekend in July, Heart Butte too has an early Saturday parade.
The parades, both during Browning’s and Heart Butte’s powwow celebrations, are great opportunities to have direct communication with the Blackfeet Nation’s community members. Many local businesses and community programs take this chance to promote themselves by entering their own floats, horses, and vehicles in the parades. We decorated two of the office trucks and entered into the Heart Butte parade.
Our Internship’s mission for summer gatherings and celebrations was to inform our community about climate change. We took this opportunity and dedicated our float decor to spreading awareness of global warming and the need to recycle.
At the 2017 Native American Indian Days (NAID) and Youth Day, we set up a booth where interns throughout the day took turns handing out informative brochures that were filled with small tips and suggestions on how to take small steps to fight climate change. The brochures were intern-made, written with child/youth-friendly content. Along with the handout brochures, we also had homemade lemonade and coloring pages to give out.
At the end of the day, for both the parades and booths we’ve put together, our main goal was to reach out to our people, or more specifically, our youth. We believe that the protection of our nation’s future is in the hands of your nation’s young people. We must stress the importance of this persistent climate crisis to our future generations. To nurture and support one another is to nurture and support our preservation of our culture, land, and traditions.