Blackfeet Youth Day debut in All Chiefs Park well attended by over 350 youth, over 600 eat at BBQ

By John McGill
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 10:03 AM MDT

This year's North American Indian Days kicked off a day early with Blackfeet Youth Day, celebrated Wednesday, July 11, at All Chiefs Park in Browning. Blackfeet Councilwoman Betty Cooper reports some 350 young people came and signed up for the activities that day, accompanied by their families. All Chiefs Park was packed with people, color and contests, and by lunchtime volunteers fed more than 600 folks with a barbecue.

Racing at Blackfeet Youth Day included three-legged, a 50 yard and 100 yard dash, and a one and three mile run. Photo by John McGill

The theme this year was Spirit of the Horse, encouraging the horse medicine to bring the young people together. Historically, parents and family introduced the child to the horse at an early age, Cooper said. The relationship helped the child and horse work through many life situations, and today the people have preserved this unique and wonderful child and horse relationship.

Ted Hoyt of the Blackfeet Po'Ka Project brought a collection of ponies to ride, and the project itself was responsible for the barbecue and most of the prizes. The Southern Piegan Diabetes Program sent out more than 500 tee shirts, both as prizes and as keepsakes of the event. Awards were presented for the Pamper run, health walk and one and three mile runs.

Some highlights of the day included the Pet and Doll Parade, the run all around the perimeter of All Chiefs, and the face painting booth. A three-on-three basketball tournament went on all day, and there was an air jumping machine, a three-legged race, 50 and 100 yard dashes and free swimming at the Glenn Heavy Runner Pool. Reading was featured by the Browning Branch Library, as well.

Some of those responsible for putting on the Day included Browning Public Schools, Girls and Boys Clubs from Browning and Heart Butte, Crystal Creek Lodge, Global Volunteers, Methodist Church summer youth workers, Ansbro Petroleum Gas and Oil Co., and many people who simply donated to the event.