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Delegation prepared Osage food for protectors at Sacred Stone Camp

NEAR-CANNONBALL, N.D. – Spirits were up as the Osage delegation prepared for their second day at the Sacred Stone Camp. Energy was still high with each individual and an impression had been left on them. They felt like they needed to put their skills to use. They wanted to do more.

After walking through the camp on the first day, they ran into Marcus Frejo, a member of the Pawnee Nation who had been sitting at the Pawnee campsite. Frejo said he had been at Sacred Stone Camp for quite some time and was providing live feed videos on social media about the daily camp life and the protectors. A teepee was built, a tent was filled with cooking supplies, canned goods, and other Pawnee tribal members had smaller tents set up around their campsite.

This made the delegation want to help the neighboring tribe. The Pawnee Nation is the Osage Nation’s neighbors to the southwest, across the Arkansas River. To see familiar faces from home made the delegation want to help out the best way that they could, said Julia Maker.

“Would you like for us to cook for your camp?” asked Margo Gray to the Pawnee campsite. And without hesitation, they all began to smile. Frejo said, “Sure! That would be wonderful. We would love for you all to cook for us.”

The Osage Nation delegation had made preparations the day before to cook at the Sacred Stone Camp. As the sun had risen early that morning the group gathered items to take to the camp so that they could prepare an evening meal.

Each one had a certain talent they could bring to the table. Gage McKinley-Gray had been placed in charge of fire duty, Julia and Alaina Maker said they would make frybread, Margo Gray and Dava Daylight took care of the beef and rice, and Mary Mashunkashey help Margo with the green beans. Everything was put into place and they were ready to put their skills to work.

Going into the campsite was a little more difficult than coming out. It took the delegation about an hour to get into the camp, which would take about 15-20 minutes to get to the location without the barricades and police directing traffic. The rain didn’t make it any easier. Bismarck had encountered some rain that lasted all morning long, which made the campsite muddy and very difficult to drive in and out of.

Around 3:30 p.m. the Osages had begun to make their journey through the camp. Although they had to walk through mud and standing water, it didn’t stop them.

Walking up to the Pawnee campsite they were greeted with handshakes and hugs. “We started a fire for you all,” said Bosco Wade (Pawnee), while pointing toward the inside of the teepee that was set up at the Pawnee camp.

Margo Gray went inside and began boiling a pot of water for the rice. Daylight had started frying up the meat that was later placed in the rice.

Outside the teepee, Julia Maker had begun to make her frybread dough. The setting was peaceful, the air was nice and cool, and the sky was filled with clouds. Maker had a table set up overlooking the river. Across the water other teepees were set up and men were floating in their canoes.

As the food was being prepared, Daylight took some time to herself and walk to the flagpoles to look for the Osage Nation flag. She stopped and looked at her surroundings “This is so cool,” she said. Men were riding horses through the campsites and children were playing around on a nearby tree stump.

Everywhere they walked they were greeted with a smile. Daylight and Gray had come upon the flagpoles. In the distance you could see a small group of men raising other tribal flags. “Look there it is!” Daylight said. The Osage Nation flag was flying with other tribal flags in the cool 60-degree weather.

As the sun began to set around Sacred Stone Camp, the food was placed on the tables. The Pawnee camp began to call in their delegation to come and eat, but there were others from surrounding camps that were invited to eat as well.

A prayer was said and everyone began to eat their evening meal that had been prepared by the Osage delegation.

A small silence set upon the Pawnee camp as they enjoyed their meal. “You know? I’ve never had an Osage cook for me,” Frejo said with a smile. The group began to giggle. “Well, I’ve never cooked inside of a teepee,” Gray said. The camp was filled with laughter at that point. It was a nice and calm setting, Gray said.

Leaving the camp

Around 10:30 p.m. the Sacred Stone Camp had become dark. As the delegation looked around, campfires lit up the night sky as far as the eye could see. At one point, the delegation commented on how beautiful the night sky was and how bright the stars glowed.

One of the members of the Pawnee camp stood up and spoke, “We know that you all have to go, but we would like to pray for you.” Everyone began to stand around a small campfire that had been built before nightfall. The prayer was said for the delegation and Frejo began to sing Pawnee songs for the Osages. “We want to send you off with good feelings. We want you to have a safe journey back home,” he said.

The Osage delegation had entered into a campsite like strangers but left with friendships. Something they would remember for a lifetime.


Chalene Toehay-Tartsah

Original Publish Date: 2016-10-12 00:00:00


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