Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Montana - Connecting with Tradition and History

Before leaving Missoula behind we head out to a local Pow Wow in Arlee.  Hailey has never attended a Pow Wow.  This Pow Wow is structured the same as the ones that I have attended for the last 25 years with the Native Children that were living with me.
This celebration like the ones I am familiar with, is a clean and sober celebration. 

Grand Entry signals the beginning of the gathering and dancers of all kinds, dance in following the elders who carry the flags.  Prayers and welcomes are followed by inter-tribal dancing where all who gather can join in the dancing and regalia is not required.   There are categories by age group, gender and style of dance. and the competition lasts for 3 days. 

Then begins the competitions.   We are able to watch several different dance sessions.

It is amazingly difficult to capture the essence of a Pow Wow dance in a photo.  It is really something to be experienced.

In addition there is a competition among the drum circles who are invited from other tribes.

Hailey was particularly interested in the stick games.  A traditional game of skill and chance where two opposing teams hide, among the members who are sitting in a line, small sticks while the other team must determine who holds the sticks.

We met a grandmother who was sitting with her granddaughter who represents a local tribal community.  She asked if I wanted to take a picture of her Granddaughter.

Miss Salish
Love and Pride beamed from the Grandmother.  I love seeing the multi-generational participation at Pow Wows.

The drums are finally silent

The Drums are finally silent.

Blending of the old ways and traditions with a new generation.

The next morning we head out for Hamilton which is located south of Missoula.  A beautiful and fun drive traveling on a road I have never been on before.  Our goal is a mansion built by Marcus Daly to be his summer home in the Bitterroot Mountains. 

Marcus Daly was a self-made man who arrived in this country at the age of 15 from Ireland without and education, money or a trade. Profiting from the mining boom of the west, he became one of the Three well known Copper Kings.  Initially making his money in silver mining, he is most known for the capitalizing on the copper found in western Montana. He is known as the father of Anaconda where he developed a copper smelter and Hamilton, Montana where he developed a saw mill and stock ranch endeavor.  His love for Hamilton became the choice for his summer home, known as the Riverview, Daly Mansion.

He purchased the Chaffin Home in 1886 and then it underwent several renovations. to enlarge it.  The Queen Anne (the third from the right) was much to fussy for Daly's tastes so he had it remodeled again into the final design which was completed after his death.

We visited the Daly Mansion, found in Hamilton.  The 25 room mansion sits in the Bitterroot Mountains.  The 42 room mansion also contains 15 bathrooms and had five fireplaces.  It was the site of his horse ranch where he raised race horses, some of the most famous in the world at that time. 

 He and his wife and four children lived at the Daly Mansion until his death in 1900.  Margret continued to live in the home until her death in 1941.  The Mansion was then boarded up until 1984 when it was donated to a preservation trust. 

Many of the furnishings were auctioned to pay the extensive taxes that were due at the time of the transfer.   Many of auctioned items have been slowly returning as gifts to the Trust.

How much fun for us to walk the halls that early pioneers walked in this western mansion.

The Daly's had four children, three daughters and a son.  They grew up in a different time where children who came of wealth, were attended to by a nanny until they turned eighteen.  Even the children of guests had a nanny assigned to them during there stay. 

The Daly children's playhouse....complete with a kitchen.
Can I play here?

 The son, Marcus II, had a nanny until he turned 18 and then he was married.  

Truly a lovely home and and wonderful gift to be preserved and treasured for years to come.

We had heard of Como Lake that is located between Hamilton and Darby that we wanted to stay from the couple we met at the Cascade Campground .

Though it was on the weekend, we took a chance and found a lovely spot for the price of $4.00 with a senior pass.

One of the nicest beaches we have found.  There are two campgrounds.  One that has electric and one that we stayed at, Three Frogs, without electric.

  A hike goes around the lake for a total of about 8 miles.  There is a beautiful waterfall  but it was farther than I can hike so we went as far I could go and turned around but it's a beautiful hike.

A trip into Darby was interesting.  What a cute little town and they make the most of the Wild West Destination.  A local artist shows his wares at an antique shop which gets a lot of attention.

Leaving Darby we found what looked like a community event.  Checking it out we discovered that it was a the Fire Incident Camp for the firefighters fighting a nearby fire.  

Hamilton Fire  

Yes, Folks it is already Fire Season.....Be careful out there!

However this is how I will remember Como Lake.

What a gem in our National Forest System!!



  1. Years ago I attended many Pow Wow's I really enjoyed them and the meantings behind each song and drum. The clothes are so beautiful and intricately beaded and oh the colors.
    I loved the Victorian mansion look the best, but to go inside had to be the best. Nice lake.

  2. I really love pow wows too and your pictures brought back such wonderful memories. The clothing is so beautiful and the dancers so skilled and proud. What a difference from the mansion. Love your last pow wow picture of the tepee. Lake Como sounds and looks wonderful especially your picture of the rock cairns.