The lodges were already going up at the Indian Days campground on Monday morning as families and programs got ready for the four-day celebration officially beginning on Thursday, July 9.
But Indian Days in Browning is nearly a weeklong affair, with many events starting on Wednesday, July 8. The Extreme Warrior and Indian Relay Races begin at 8 a.m., and Blackfeet Youth Day is featured at All Chiefs Park (across from the Tribal Offices) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Around 6 p.m. that evening, if you're in Browning, you'll want to join the entire town as they witness the second annual Tal Michael Memorial Running of the Horses. Pick your favorite spot anywhere along U.S. Highway 2 through the Blackfeet capital and watch as more than 200 broncs and scores of cowboys and cowgirls make their way to the Stampede Park rodeo grounds.
The Tal Michael Memorial Rodeo runs all day Thursday, July 9, and the first Grand Entry at the dance arbor, and the start of scoring for prizes, is set for 7 p.m. the same day. This year's masters of ceremonies include Blackfeet Chief Earl Old Person, as well as Blackfoot Confederacy notables Eldon Weasel Child and Jason Good Striker. Tha Boyz of Minnesota are this season's host drum, and Mike LaFromboise and Alden Spoonhunter are the arena directors.
Runners and athletes will be racing through Browning's streets on Friday in the Mayor's Cup, with the start set for 9 a.m. at Browning's downtown City Park. Friday is also a great day to see some of the true competition at the dance arbor, with drumming and dancing getting down to business. Last year's Tiny Tot Princess, Brooke Powell, sponsors a special for the youngsters that day, among many other featured events.
The biggest day of Indian Days is always Saturday, with the 2009 NAID Parade at the top of the list of featured activities. Claim your spot early as the procession begins at 11 a.m. and winds its way through Browning's main streets on its way to the NAID campgrounds. Prizes are awarded for best-dressed cowboys and cowgirls, Indian men and women, and cowboy and Indian families. Floats of all descriptions are judged, as well as traditional and contemporary musical groups. Everyone has a chance to collect their wits after the parade before making their way to the dance arbor and a 3 p.m. Grand Entry, marking the climax of contest dancing and drumming through the evening.
Sunday's offerings begin with Catholic Mass at 10 a.m. at the dance arbor, as well as other services at churches around Browning. Many of the dancing winners are paid on Sunday.
Besides the main events, the campgrounds and vendors' areas are always worth exploring, in addition to the four-man golf scramble running Saturday and Sunday, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and much more.
The 58th North American Indian Days will likely be unforgettable.