Posted: May 9, 2012 9:43 PM by Dennis Bragg (KPAX News)
Updated: May 10, 2012 10:37 PM
MOIESE- Children are getting a new understanding of how the Flathead River has been the lifeline for thousands of years, and countless generations here in Western Montana.
Reporter Dennis Bragg traveled to this week's River Honoring ceremony, a tribal event that's been telling the legacy of the river, and its people, for nearly 20-years.
Standing on the shoreline of the Flathead River one gets a sense of the timelessness of this scenic waterway and this week 1,000 school children are learning the timeless lessons of living along its banks.
"These two days I'm teaching about the environment. I'm teaching about our mother earth," an instructor explained.
It's a message you don't hear often enough in these days of Facebook and iPads, a story told in two days of demonstrations and instruction. It's a tale about how the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have depended on the river for transportation and sustenance for centuries.
It's also an event that brings recollections to the elders and creates memories for those just learning about their world.
"The elders come to enjoy and memories come back to them, about the past, you know, and what they did here, and what their families did here. And the young ones come here to learn about it and have fun doing it," CSKT Cultural Committee Director Tony Incashola explained.
That instruction covers everything from fish and wildlife, to respecting the river and learning how ancestors worked within the environment.
"We all have ancestors no matter who you are, from what country you are. And all our ancestors had to figure out how to live in the wilderness. And how to make a living. And not only to survive but to carry on for generation upon generation," explained instructor Tim Ryan.
"You know a lot of people look at the river as like a recreation place to swim, a place to have picnics. But people need to look beyond that. Look beyond what it really is. What it has, what it provides for us as people," Incashola added.