Earth lodge village ready

NEW TOWN Darian Morsette, new director of the Three Affiliated Tribes’ Tourism Department, said the department really wants to focus on family events at the tribe’s earth lodge village this year.

Events already are being planned.

On Saturday, June 1, a parade with floats and horseback riders will kick off a day of activities for the tourism seasonal opening of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara “Pride of the Badlands” Earth Lodge Village, west of New Town.

Morsette said the line-up for the parade begins at 9 a.m. at the Four Bears Park, followed by the parade at 10 a.m. that will follow a route around Four Bears Peninsula and then to the earth lodge village, west of the peninsula.

After the parade arrives at the earth lodge village, a program will be held with Morsette giving the welcome. Other speakers will include Three Affiliated Tribes’ business council representatives V. Judy Brugh, Four Bears area; Ken Hall, New Town-Little Shell area, and Randy Phelan, Mandaree area; and Alyce Spotted Bear, vice president of Native American Studies at Fort Berthold Community College in New Town.

The Kalama Fire Dancers, professional Polynesian dancers originally from Hawaii, performing fire dances and other dances, will be among the entertainment that day. The dancers will perform at about 4 p.m. and again at about 8 p.m.

Local dance groups and Lance White, a flute player, all enrolled members of the Three Affiliated Tribes, will also perform.

A free traditional meal will be served at 3 p.m. MHA Tourism will have refreshments and other food available at the site during the event.

People should bring their own chairs.

There will also be traditional games and, if weather permits, pontoon rides. People also can use the hiking trails.

Arts and crafts vendors are welcome to participate.

The activities are free to the public. In case of rain, Morsette said the program will be held in the ceremonial lodge.

The earth lodge village, overlooking Lake Sakakawea on the Fort Berthold Reservation, is located about 1 1/2 miles west of the 4 Bears Casino & Lodge, west of New Town.

The village includes a large ceremonial or community lodge and six dome-shaped smaller lodges made of logs and earth.

Reservations can be made with MHA Tourism for overnight camping in the village’s earth lodges, tepee or in your own tent. The ceremonial lodge is available by reservation for family events.

Morsette said the ceremonial lodge also is being turned into an art gallery where other items are also displayed.

For more information about the village including Saturday’s activities call the MHA Tourism Office at 627-2243.