Recently I was a volunteer for the Bitterroot College’s presentation of The Medicine Tree: A Catalyst for Cultural Dialogue. The community forum aspect of the program on May 22 was a fantastic community event to help the public gain insight on the Medicine Tree, as well as the culture of the Salish People as well as create a platform for further understanding and growth. I truly hope this event will occur again, especially after the fiasco that occurred at the county commissioners’ meeting where Mr. Wisniewski said the disparaging words that I won’t repeat.
While this was happening another event was occurring, a meet and greet with Scott Boulanger, who is running for State Senator in District 43. While this meeting occurred at an earlier time there were still many people milling around, talking, laughing and partaking in food and beverages as they have the right to do so. Among these people were many others on the election trail. Some were polite, and asked questions while others of the group gave dirty looks and made snide comments about the goings on and the content of the program. Some even stood not 15 feet outside the doors of the Medicine Tree forum talking and laughing very loudly, loud enough to hear it through the doors. While this was rude and inconsiderate it was tolerable. I wish that had been all that occurred.
The final straw of this “convenient” get together was after the Boulanger party left aside from Mr. Boulanger himself and a handful of others who were cleaning up the room with the door shut to muffle the noise (odd as it had not occurred until some two hours after the event began). Soon after the doors were shut I heard someone chanting “hey-how-are-ya, hey-how-are-ya” to the beat and tune of a “Native American” type song and dance, a common idiotic and ignorant “joke.”
This was not a joke. It was utterly disrespectful and crude. To stoop so low as to make light of a situation of education and open dialogue with a juvenile chant is disgusting. This was not done as a sly quiet joke among friends, it was loud enough to hear down the hall and I am sure some people in the program could hear this as well. I do not know who was chanting this, however, this behavior is utterly disrespectful and I would question someone’s integrity, their ability to make important decisions for the state and maintain vital relationships with this state’s many tribes. Anyone who makes light of serious situations here in the Bitterroot Valley, especially after they have “had a few,” would not have my vote.