Darrell Kipp is a member of the Blackfoot tribe and director of the Piegan Institute. Lewis and Clark met members of this tribe on their return journey in 1806. The Expedition killed two young Blackfoot men who had entered their camp. These excerpts are from an interview conducted in 2002.
They avoided coming in contact with the Blackfoot. There is speculation that they knew they might have trouble with the Blackfoot on the western trek. During their eastern trek home, under specific orders, they had to come into the Blackfoot area to verify some geographic locations. During that time the only fatality happened when Lewis and his fellow travelers were in a skirmish and two teenage Blackfoot boys were killed.
The celebration of any American nation-building . . . could be classified as marking the demise of Native American communities . . . It's time for America to grow up and start to develop a viable history of America, what really happened.
I use the term, let's "renegotiate" reality. Let's use this commemoration of Lewis and Clark to have everybody say what is the reality of today, and what type of reality are we going to create for the future.
Native American people are in a giant healing process right now . . . Generosity, the value of the extended family, the respect for the land, protecting the land you live on. These are becoming important now. We've made a pretty good job of polluting a lot of things in this country. And we can't just simply go on polluting at will and hoping technology will take care of it down the road. It's about time to kind of get on the right track and get back to a true relationship with Mother Earth.
One of the major facets of American society today is that technology is on a rampage . . . this results in a high rate of consumption of natural resources. Some day we are going to have to say, that's it. We can't consume everything. We have to share with the world and leave some for future generations.
In this great quest for happiness we just gobble up everything we come in contact with... that is an extension of the mentality behind Lewis and Clak. He was sent to find things to harvest and get rid of anything in the way.
We talk about . . . "discovery." How can we discover something that is already there? We sent people to the moon in a spaceship. Did they discover the moon? Absolutely not.