Friday, October 20, 2006


Er. . .

I don't know how to put this.

See, for a while I figured they were joking. Just trying to make the outsiders uncomfortable, you know. Age old insider-vs-outsider needling, but I've recently learned that yes, they do in fact. . .

Well... Every once in a while, anyway, and most of the time for purely ceremonial purposes, but SOMETIMES just for dinner. . .

They eat dogs.

. . .



I mean, it's not like there's any LACK of dogs around here, and really, it makes sense that a people rooted in their age-old-traditions (some of those coming from periods of intense hunger and so forth) would eat any number of animals in close proximity, and not that there's anything wrong with that, but it still makes me uneasy.

For one reason, mainly. . . You see. . .

It's considered rude for a guest to refuse food.

And at some point, someone may offer me a certain opaque soup, and I'm going to want to say no. . .

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Kid-to-be update

Well, we had our first official prenatal exam yesterday in Chadron, Nebraska. The drive, which normally takes about 1.5 hours, took more than 2 hours as the roads had iced over in the night. We actually had a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Apparently this is how you drive in snow: slowly. Agonizingly slowly.

Fortunately, the roads weren't iced the entire way to Chadron, and we made it to the appoinment almost on time. The beautiful thing about seeing a doctor in a small town is that it didn't matter one bit.

We actually had an ultrasound because I've been having some sharp pains on my right side and a little bit of bleeding. Dr. Johnson decided it would be best to go ahead and rule out the ectopic, so we actually got a chance to see our future kid! Right now, it looks more like a small lima bean. BUT, there was a heart beating. The bad news is: I'm less pregnant than I thought I was - only 6 weeks instead of 7. The good news is: everything is right where it's supposed to be. The pain in the side is caused by a corpus luteal cyst, which is a good thing. It should go away by the end of my first trimester.

Officially due on June 8.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Today's update is a more or less random collection of photos.

Manderson from above

The town of Manderson seen from above. Well, it's actually slightly to the left of the town of Manderson seen from above. That's St. Agnes Catholic Church in the background, where we attended Mass somewhat accidentally. Which is to say, we were invited to a Monday evening potluck that turned out to actually be a healing balm centered Mass followed by a potluck.

courtney cows

Far too often, this is the view out of our kitchen window.

Evil Cows

The cows are not what they seem.


This is the old cabin behind our house. There's been a frost, so the marijuana has exfoliated itself.


I much prefer the horses to the cows. They're quieter and tend to actually get out of the way of our car.

old car1

The dirt road that we live on actually goes all the way to Pine Ridge. Unfortunately, it has a long standing reputation for serving as a liquour run for Reservation boot-leggers, and the road is littered with car wreckage going back several decades.

old car2



A sunset seen from our yard.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ah, pregnancy

So, apparently I was getting all cocky and the gods have decided that I need a good dose of humility in the form of morning sickness. So for the past few days, I've woken up feeling like crud - needing to eat when the thought of food absolutely turns my stomach. Getting exercise works, so I walk the dogs every day. Unfortunately, this morning it was 17 degrees, and it's not going to be getting much warmer in the next few weeks.

Got a prenatal yoga DVD and that's probably going to be helpful.

You know, when I ask people who've recently had kids what they wish they'd done differently in their pregnancy, most say that they wish they'd enjoyed it more. Honestly, right now I don't know how anyone could enjoy feeling like this. Yuck.

Any suggestions for remedies will be much appreciated. This only lasts a few weeks, right?!?

Monday, October 09, 2006


Some unorganized thoughts:


So, as Courtney mentioned a mere post ago, we've got one on the way. It wasn't an easy decision, and not, perhaps, an entirely logical one, but it's coming, and it feels right. Besides, we'll have a story to tell her (him) about carrying in the Sioux Lands. That'll impress his (her) friends.


We have it here. And it's glorious. Burnt yellow trees in the gully, mist rolling down between the buttes... chilly cows. We don't have doors in the house, other than between the bathroom and the kitchen, so we've hung blankets in the doorways to better hold the heat. It works well, although it makes the place feel like a cave.


We have one again, so expect many more pictures in the near future. Here's a brief set of the first ones we've taken.


It's getting old. There are certain places, Big Bat's Gas in Pine Ridge especially, where people don't see us, they see flashing dollar signs. Other places: the Post Office, Pinky's Store, outside our gate when the kid who stole from us sees us coming in (a gall that I'm surprised at).

Pow Wow

We went to one yesterday in Rapid City. I've been to many feast day dances at New Mexico Pueblos, and this was very similar, except in a few telling respects. Because dancing for religious purposes was outlawed on many reservations in the early part of the century, dances were changed into "competitive" events. So, whereas pueblo dances are still entirely ceremonial, pow wows are judged affairs, with numbers affixed to dancers and prizes given for the costumes and fervor. Despite this, the pow wow didn't feel competitive, the emphasis seemed to be more on community and tradition but without many overt references to the religious heart of the ceremony. Also, both applause and photography were allowed, even encouraged, both of which are strictly taboo at pueblo dances.


I'm learning. And making mistakes. This culture is far from my own, and the amount of it that I will never understand is mind boggling. As such, this blog is neccessarily misrepresenting the culture I'm living in. This upsets me. Someday someone will call me on it, and I'll have no excuse other than who I am and where I come from.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Well, here's the big news: if all goes well, we are going to become parents around June 2007!!

We're both really excited. And I have to say, I feel fantastic. I know, just typing that is asking for it (I'm knocking on wood as I write this), but I honestly feel great. I have my first prenatal exam on Wednesday, 10/18 and can provide more official information at that point.

Some News...

Well well well, guess what?

No, really. Guess. :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Today we took a walk behind our house, along a set of ruts into the woods that surround White Horse Creek's gully. There's a lot of trash back there, (despite what certain 1970's era public service announcements might have you believe, there's a fair amount of dumping on the reservation), several generations worth of broken furniture, rusting car parts, toys and so forth, and picking our way through the rubbish has kept us from going too far back there before. Today though, we were feeling like exploring, and followed the ruts through the trash heap and into a clearing. We were suprised to find an ancient log cabin back there, abandoned and falling down, of course. We poked around, examined the ancient tree in front of it, a long rusted front-of-a-car, and a still-intact wood stove laying on its side, as the dogs engaged in their favorite past-time of bothering cows.

As we explored, Courtney complained of a strong smell. My perpetual allergies don't permit me to smell anything, so I wasn't sure what she was talking about. "I think it's this," she said, pointing to a shoulder high brushy plant.

I looked at it. Looked at it again. Recognized it.

"That's pot."

And indeed, it was. And there was another cannabis plant beside it, and another, and another. In fact, there was a veritble thicket of pot plants surrounding the abandoned cabin.

Our first thought, of course, was that someone was growing it. But there was nothing well tended about these plants. They were ragged in fact, unruly. And if someone was interested in harvesting them, they had missed their opportunity as they had gone to seed.

There's at least one other possiblities. Hemp was once a major cash crop in South Dakota, and was legally grown on the reservation up until the 1940s (when the US Government encouraged its production as part of its "Hemp For Victory" initiative) and, as mentioned in a previous post, in the early 2000s by the White Plume family attempted to revive the industry, though that didn't work out so well. I've heard that wild remnants of these crops are still growing throughout the reservation, and I believe that this accounts for todays discovery.

Now we wait for the helicopters.