By Alan Sorensen
The Rocky Boy Cree Drum group will have a front-row seat for this years Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. Theyll be winding through New York City atop one of the floats comprising the renowned parade that is televised worldwide.
The drum group was selected over hundreds of drum groups from across the country to play from the float sponsored by the American Indian College Fund (AICF).
The seven drummers and singers will ride on the float and play for the college student dancers selected from among the American Indian Higher Education Consortiums 30 member schools.
The selection process included the original application with tape, selection as a semifinalist, making it to the finalist level, and then being selected for the big event.
The seven members making the trip at AICFs expense are Charlie Gopher, Jonathan Gopher, John Roasting Stick, Marlon Roasting Stick, Josh LaMere, Louis Sonny Raining Bird, and Joseph Morsette.
Raining Bird, for one, said he was excited to see that side of America.
Ive been all over the West, but the farthest east Ive ever been is Chicago, he said.
Arrangements havent been finalized yet, Morsette said, but the group is expected to fly to New York the day before Thanksgiving and fly back to Montana the day after Thanksgiving.
Morsette said the drum groups traveling and living expenses are being covered by AICF, but that members have received private donations for appropriate attire and accoutrements.
We wanted to raise a couple of hundred more dollars for the cost of ribbon shirts, he said. Were expected to go in full regalia.
Donations and discounts came pouring in when people heard the group was going to New York City for one of the most watched parades in the world.
Donors include RJS & Associates who gave the group $100 in cash and caps to wear. Bonnie Meyers, who made the groups ribbon shirts, donated white scarves and beaded hat bands. Village Grocery donated chokers.
Businesses giving discounts were: Altec Graphics, $350 on embroidery; Normans Ranch & Sportswear, $206.50 on clothing; Ben Franklin, $23 on ribbons and cloth; and Silver Thimble, $15 on ribbons.
Morsette said Stone Child College and the Chippewa Cree Tribe have pledged to contribute funds later.
Rocky Boy earned special recognition from the American Indian College Fund last year, too, when Beau Mitchell, a Stone Child College graduate, was selected to represent AICF in print and televised advertisements.