Venne, Crow tribal chairman, is one of 24 Crow riders who will take
part in today's inaugural parade.
think this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us," Venne
said Monday from Washington, D.C.
and other members of the tribe arrived in the nation's Capitol Sunday
night at about 10:30 p.m. They compose one of fewer than 100 entries
accepted into the 56th inaugural parade out of the 1,382 organizations
that applied to participate.
tribe is very happy to represent all Indians in America and also
the state of Montana," Venne said Monday morning by phone.
"We're very fortunate that they picked us."
The Crow Tribe already has a special link to President-elect Barack
Obama. When the candidate made his May 19 visit to Crow Agency,
the tribe adopted Obama and gave him the name "One who helps
people throughout the land."
"Corky" Old Horn, coordinator of the tribe's parade entry
and executive assistant to Venne, said he is encouraged by the promises
Obama made during that visit, "the only visit to an Indian
nation he made," Old Horn said.
Obama guaranteed that Indian views will be heard, and with the staff
in the White House there will be a direct link to him," he
Horn also will ride in the parade as part of the Crow Nation of
Montana Horse Mounted Unit. He and other riders gathered in Crow
Agency earlier this month at the rodeo grounds to pose for a photo
and to meet with a local veterinarian. The vet checked the health
of all the horses that will take part in today's parade.
horses were specially selected for the occasion, said Old Horn.
this is going to be a parade with thousands of people watching,
we are taking parade-broken horses," Old Horn said.
float carrying 18 Crow women garbed in elk-tooth dresses will follow
parade down Pennsylvania Avenue is scheduled to begin today at about
2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Old Horn has known about the Crow's
invitation to the parade since early last month.
was very elated to be notified, to be selected," Old Horn said,
when he got the call on Dec. 5.
riders originally planned to ride single-file along the route, but
Old Horn said that when the group asked to add a float, it got the
OK but was told that it had to fit in the original space allocated,
so the riders will ride in pairs.
in the Crow Tribe's entry also will include three other tribal officers
and additional tribe members. Venne said U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and
Rep. Denny Rehberg may also join them on horseback in the parade.
with the 24 riders and 18 float participants, six horse handlers
also went on the trip to help care for the animals.
Crow Tribe is picking up the travel expenses for the group, Old
Horn said, along with donations the tribe has received. Getting
that many people and horses from Montana to Washington, D.C., has
been quite an undertaking, he said.
in chartered buses and horses in their trailers departed from Crow
Agency on Friday, and stops were made along the way in Omaha, Neb.,
and Lexington, Ky. The horses are being housed at Prince George's
Equestrian Center in Maryland.
the most part, the travelers didn't encounter any problems, Venne
got into some bad weather around Indianapolis," he said. "The
roads had some black ice. That slowed us up quite a bit."
said on Monday that the group planned to take part in a bus tour
of the city, and the tribe was scheduled to host a reception for
all tribes paid for by energy businesses that have been working
with the tribe. On Monday night, Venne said he and others planned
to join in an all-tribes powwow, and then to attend an Indian ball
checks already have been performed on the members of the group,
Old Horn said. This morning, a vet was expected to review the horses'
papers, making sure that they are certified free of disease.
the horses are certified, the riders will take them to the staging
area under police escort.
officers received tickets to attend the swearing-in ceremony, Old
Horn said. But with the likely congestion created by the crowds
massing at the Capitol, it could make it difficult for them to get
to the parade's staging area in time. So they likely will forego
for riding a horse in the parade, Old Horn said it's the most natural
thing in the world for members of the Crow Tribe.
of us have been riding ever since we were youngsters."
babies have been known to fall asleep while their mothers carry
them along on a horse, he said.
view a photo gallery of the Crow Nation of Montana Horse Mounted