Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Flashback: Family Vacation 2009, The Black Hills.

Quick history lesson: in 1868 the US Government signed a treaty with the Lakota which gave them total ownership of the Black Hills (which is considered sacred land to the Lakota). Then a short time later some guy finds gold in them thar hills and the government breaks their promise (yet again).

I have always been interested in Native American history and culture - and particularly in this sacred land, so although my kids wanted Disneyland and my wife wanted a Mediterranean Cruise, in 2009 we decided our vacation would be a road trip to the Black Hills. Here is a picture taken taken at the beginning of our journey (and you can tell it was taken at the beginning of the trip because no one is crying or yelling and there is a notable lack of trash strewn about the van.):To get from Salt Lake to the Black Hills (South Dakota), we had to drive through Wyoming and because of some preconceived notions I have about people who live in Wyoming as well as a personal distaste with the state's landscape, the plan was to not stop ever for any reason until we passed through the other side. But then somewhere along the way, we saw a sign for Martin's Cove, so we decided to pull over and take this opportunity to mock my pioneer ancestry by posing for a cute picture pulling (and pushing) a handcart:
It was a great experience. After I got a pebble stuck in my sandal and before hurrying back to the air conditioned van, I really got a sense of what those people went through crossing the plains all those years ago.

Anyway, like I said, back to the car and on the road again. Next stop, the Black Hills:
Well actually the next stop was the hotel. But then the next day, we got to the Black Hills and took that picture.

Another history lesson: Sometime after breaking the treaty which gave the Black Hills to the Lakota, in an effort to add insult to injury, the government carved the faces of some of its past presidents in the side of these sacred hills. (classy)

And as far as I am concerned people who pay the entry fee to visit Mount Rushmore are doing nothing less than financially supporting that completely disrespectful act. But, you know... I mean we did drive all that way...
And it is an impressive sculpture and I admit that I was taken back by its beauty. So much so actually, that I lost track of the kids for a couple of minutes. And you will never guess where they had gotten off to...
After we finally got them to come back down, it started to rain and everyone was getting wet, so they decided to move the monument indoors:
But that was just too crowded, so we took off and went to visit the Crazy Horse Monument. Which, although is not completed, was also quite a beautiful sculpture.
I made a joke to this Indian guy there that the monument reminded me of a nickel I once owned. And I guess he he didn't think it was very funny because then he said that with my baby on my back, I reminded him of a dollar he once owned.
My wife thought that was a pretty witty comeback, so she was all "burn!" And then I guess the guy misunderstood, because he then grabbed her forearm arm and twisted his hands in opposite directions until she screamed out from the pain the friction caused.

History lesson: This is a picture of the great Sioux chief, Red Cloud:
Why does he look so sad, you ask?

Well perhaps it's because in his vision quest he saw the kind of life his descendants would live. And yes, I am referring to his great great grandsons, Milli Bear and Vanilli Elk:
How gay did I feel when I bought those postcards, you ask?

Very gay. I actually pretended my daughter had picked them out. And yes, maybe I could fool the storekeeper, but I couldn't fool my wife.

Now where was I? Oh yeah. Then after that, we went into Deadwood. to see all the historic sites...It was a pretty cool place, but we didn't think the language was appropriate for the kids, so we took off and went to the local cemetery to pay our respects to some of the Deadwood celebrities: Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Sheriff Bullock.
What? You think I'm lying? Well I thought you might, so just to prove it, we posed for this family picture outside of the cemetery.Awe... Look at Priya in that picture. So cute...
And now look at me in that picture. So embarrassing...
Anyway, that was our 2009 vacation. We stayed at the local Ramada hotel, whose housecleaning staff are known to steal old dirty flip flops (you've been warned!) and then we drove home all day Sunday - and when we got home the house was 95 degrees Fahrenheit - and trust me you do not want to see pictures of that.

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