2009.02.04 The News from Eagle Butte

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Linda Shadbolt knew she was bringing me a great present when she brought in a copy of the West River Eagle a few weeks ago.

The Eagle is the weekly paper serving Eagle Butte, S.D., a community of about 600 people—about 80 percent of them Native Americans.

Linda’s daughter, Madonna Swimmer, is a subscriber since that’s where she and her brother, Orlin, grew up. Like many distant Observer subscribers, Madonna still wants to keep up with the people and events from her home town.

A lot of the news is different. You can see that right from the start with the headline “Local cowgirl selected.” She was chosen to serve as a chaperone for the Miss Rodeo America pageant. Another story tells that World War II Codetalker Clarence Wolf Guts was honored with the gift of a quilt.

The Eagle still uses plenty of what it calls the “locals,” those reports that tell who visited whom and where they ate lunch. I say they still use them because most papers in this area closed out the personal items years ago.

The old Observers printed the neighborhood reports from Morenci, Lyons, Medina, Lime Creek and other areas. Every week Mary Clymer would call around town to collect what some people saw merely as gossip, but that gossip was good reading for some people.

In the Eagle, I learn that Deb Doolittle joined Everett and Melinda Hunt and John and Laura Hunt in Pierre Wednesday afternoon where they sold their calves.

Over in Lantry, Amy Ulrich and Ann Marie visited at the Owen McLellan home Friday, where Amy helped winterize the windows.

As I read through the locals, I thought about Twitter. Twitter is one of those social networking tools that allows users to keep track of every little thing that a friend is doing, providing the friend wants to spend the time sending tweets.

For example, a person might send a tweet saying they’re at a particular store and heading toward a coffee shop. So any well-connected friend in the area can meet up for actual face-to-face contact.

The locals are like an ancient, snail-paced Twitter.

• Keith and Tiny Farlee attended the volleyball game in Eagle Butte Thursday evening.

• Rick and Kristi Farlee attended the football game in Murdo Friday night.

• Sunday dinner guests of Judy Farlee were Jaime and Chad Pulling and family.

• Tuesday, Mary Lu Griffith delivered her local news to the Eagle news office and then spent some time playing cards with Mary Walters and Alva Schneider.

Sorry you weren’t there. Should have tweeted.

Any newspaper from far away will provide amusement to those who aren’t locals. Why, for example, does the candidate for county treasurer—a grown woman who appears to be in her 30s or 40s—list as one of her two qualifications “The daughter of Lawrence and Debbie Goldade”? Maybe I’m misjudging her age.

Linda had a note attached to the copy of the Eagle that she dropped off, telling me to be sure to read the obituaries. I didn’t need a reminder. I always check to see if people in a particular newspaper simply die or go to a better place or go fishing with Jesus, etc. In the Eagle, everyone passes away.

At the funeral of Goldie Iron Hawk—the great-great-granddaughter of Ghost Horse who was killed at Wounded Knee—11 people crowded together to serve as casket bearers. There were also honorary casket bearers—at least 150 of them. I gave up counting.

The same thing with Viola Charging Cloud. Ten casket bearers and about 60 honoraries, from Pearl Hollow Horn and Gloria Sitting Crow to Zouie Lone Eagle and Rosie Roach.

The Eagle’s obits don’t tell how the person died—always a complaint of mine if an obit is to serve as a piece of family history—but they are rich in details. “Thousands of sourdough pancakes were served at Mary Lou’s table over the years.” “She was a pitcher for the Red Scaffold women’s fast-pitch team for many years. They won many tournament titles.”

The Eagle has some differences from the Observer, along with many similarities, and we could both learn some things from each other. Linda was right: I had a great time leafing through those pages.

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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