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USDA Celebrates North American Indian Days

Ross Racine, Intertribal Agriculture Council executive director, and Undersecretary Ed Avalos, attend the 60th Annual North American Indian Days Celebration on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana on July 8.

Ross Racine, Intertribal Agriculture Council executive director, and Undersecretary Ed Avalos, attend the 60th Annual North American Indian Days Celebration on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana on July 8.

The view of teepees and campers across the countryside, the enticing aroma of food and the distant beat of the drums were all part of the North American Indian Days celebration.  I was in Browning – home of the Blackfeet Nation to listen and learn about agriculture in Indian Country.  On the Blackfeet Nation there are 22,000 cows, 300,000 acres of grain crops, 17,000 acres of irrigated hay and grain, and over 360 Indian producers.

Also, I had the opportunity to recognize Ross Racine, Executive Director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council for being honored by President Obama as a Champion of Change for his work for Native Americans.

The Chairman and the Chief were so gracious to allow me to participate in the grand entry at the Pow Wow.  The dancers, the drummers and the singers truly represented a culture, tradition, way of life and an education for future generations.  Festivities also included a 4-H livestock show/sale and rodeo.  This is so important to the youth – building character, a work ethic and rewards for hard work!

As I left Racine Basin, Rising Wolf Mountain, the parade, the rodeo and Browning, it reminded me of “hometown USA” just like the thousands of communities throughout rural America with similar celebrations, traditions, successes and needs.

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