The spoken word will help kick off a weekend of music July 5.
By Brad Mosher
Marie Louise Wilson, a Native American elder and member of the Hidatsa tribe, will be focusing on the Native American history surrounding Rainy Butte, just a short distance away from the city of New England.
According to Gordon Rettinger, the organizer of the event, Wilson is 88 years old and will be visiting July 5 to help kick off a weekend of music in the city.
“When she was a small girl, she heard stories from the elders about Rainy Butte. And with Native Americans, they never had the written word so they relied on the spoken words.
“As an elder herself now, she is able to pass down stories about hundreds of years ago. She is going to be talking about Rainy Butte being one of the sacred areas on the Cannonball River. She said it is probably the most sacred spot (in North Dakota) because that is where, in the New England area, the start of the Cannonball River.
“The Native Americans view Rainy Butte as a point of guidance or a focal point. There are certain buttes in North Dakota that you would go to for directions,” Rettinger said.
Rainy Butte would also be a destination for tribes from all directions, he added. “The Crow Indians from Montana would come from the east. The Sioux would come from the Missouri River west to the west side of Rainy Butte. That was the end of their territory. The Mandan Hidatsa would come from the north and the Lakota came from the south to the south side of Rainy Butte.
“The different tribes would come to Rainy Butte. They did have some battles among themselves. Sitting Bull’s dad, Jumping Bull, was killed on top of Rainy Butte. He was Sioux, yet he was killed by a Crow,” Rettinger explained.
The organizer considers the addition of Joe Weigand to the event is a big plug. Weigand plays the role of Teddy Roosevelt on many stages, including in Medora.
Starts July 5
The musical weekend will start July 5 with Wilson, a Native American elder, at the Memorial Hall, starting at 6 p.m.
The music will start in earnest at 3 p.m. Saturday at both the Memorial Hall and the City Park. Among the performers slated for Saturday will be Colleen Reinhardt, Debi Rogers, Chuck Suchy, Josh Kehr and the Roosevelt actor Weigand.
Josh Kehr, a country music performer from New England, will play twice Saturday. First, he will be in front of the microphone from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. He will return from 9:30 p.m. until 2 a.m.
The Sunday events will start with a tour of Rainy Butte starting from the Memorial Hall at 6:30 a.m.
The Sunday performances will start at noon and run until 6:15 p.m.
Ed Praus and the Queen City Polka Band will start the performances at noon, followed by Reinhardt, Clyde Bauman, Mylo Huntenhuhler and Kehr returning at 4 p.m. with the final performance at 4 p.m.
Rettinger wanted to publicly thank the New England Lions Club for helping out, even though it isn’t a Lions Club event.