I've been in Mobile, AL for several days now...and I very much like it here. Everyone thinks it's too hot, but I like it. I live without fear of being cold.
My hotel is very fancy and very old. I got turn down service! It was just a torn piece of paper with historical facts on it and some chocolate, which I ate right away.
Today we went on a field trip (the Natural Resources Committee, made up of Tribal members in the Natural Resources departments of USET's 25 Tribes), to see the reservation and specifically, the wastewater treatment plant. It was awesome! I've always wanted to see the inner workings of one. There were two large tanks filled with poo water. One was settling and one was aerating (having bubbles blown through it). It didn't stink too much, but sometimes it stinks like fart...bad diarhirria fart. It did yesterday when we drove past on the way to the Pow Wow grounds. There are a few other tanks and I saw the filters. There was tons of food and tampon accessories on the filters. It was quite gross.
I always thought that the wastewater was turned into drinking water. This is not so. It gets properly set free into the world to be cleaned naturally. What the drinking water plant does is treat ground water. Which I didn't know they did. I asked about personal home wells, and was told that they get tested and a monitor comes out and checks it so often and that there are permits etc. I was like, Ummm...not at my parents house. But I could always be wrong...I guess.
Last night we went to the PowWow grounds and got to hear the Creek Indian's Princesses sing and ate southern foods...including Banana Pudding. Then the dancer's danced. They were all kids and their dance teachers were these 20-30 something men who played the drums and sang for them. You could tell they were all friends and treated eachother like a family. After the dancing they played Stick Ball which is a game that has been played in the Tribe for thousands of years. It was awesome to watch. It involved throwing a small ball at a thing at the top of a tall pole with two sticks similar to lacrosse sticks only shorter and smaller. People of all ages played from 5 yrs to adult. The girls don't get sticks but they get to attack and touch the guys. The guys can't touch the girls. The older girls are in charge of pulling the younger girls off the guys b/c they get vicious. It was so fun! It was like a fair or a small community. So it wasn't like that, it WAS that. :) The sad part though is knowing that I am just an observer and even if I lived there for 10 yrs I would never belong b/c I am not Tribal and I would never "get it".
Then we went to the casino and got 2 free drinks and I moon walked for the Indians. They liked it. Then I danced with an old skinny Indian guy. But not touching. Most old men find a way to touch when I dance with them...so that was nice. And yes, I usually do end up dancing with old old men at some point or another.
I spend all day in meetings learning how much the gov't continues to screw over the Indians despite whatever Obama says or wants. It's just the people who work for the gov't...the Non-Tribal people! They are IGNORANT. I seriously haven't seen such a degree of ignorance of another culture (specifically 568 federally recognized cultures) ever. All of the federal agencies are suppose to consult with the Tribes before they make any regulations that will affect the Tribes, and they are all working on those policies of consulting. Only....they didn't consult the Tribes on how they would like these consulting policies to be like. I could go on, but probably shouldn't.
Okay, it's time for dinner with my new friend! Her name is Christina and she works for the BIA in Nashville. Woot woot.