Day three of the Ojibwe camp was a little bit different. It was Wednesday and we were supposed to spend three hours with the kids in the afternoon. We were invited to attend a pow wow in Leech Lake, but decided it would be better to stay at the camp so we could meet with one of the elders, Dave. It was also the only time that we would have to write the script for the campers without them around to alternate between making fun of us and ask us to play volleyball and kickball. Dave was kind enough to sit with us for a while and tell us about some of the history of the Ojibwe people, and to point us in the right direction to find some more traditional animal myths. As it seemed, most of the people at the camp couldn’t remember many of the specifics to the animal stories, so we turned to the internet, and eventually found some more information. After a few hours of research, we found one story in particular that stood out to us. It was the story of how the Crow found its purpose. It seemed like it would resonate with the kids that were at the camp. The basic storyline is the as follows:
Crow is sad because all of the animals in the forest have a purpose except for him. He visits a number of different animals and finds out that each one is well suited for his or her roll in the forest. He finds out that animals are scared because they don’t know how to use all of their natural abilities to stay safe from the fox that has been terrorizing them. The Crow teaches the animals to use their ears and legs to avoid the fox, and all is well in the forest. Crow has found that his purpose is to help others, and in doing so, he becomes a respected member of the animal society.
So, we set to work making it a contemporary story by throwing a lot of “stupids” and “nut” jokes into the dialogue so the campers would think it’s funny and cool. After the writing, we had lunch with the women who ran the main cabin, and the cook had made me a special meal because she knew that I couldn’t eat the pork chop she was serving… It made me feel special. We printed out a copy of the play and showed it to the head maintenance man, a war Veteran named Frank, was sitting out front smoking a cigarette. We had been talking to him a little bit before, so we thought it would be good to have him read the script before we gave it to Sally and Dave. Frank read it and then asked if he could have a copy so he could share it with his grand kids. A cool moment.
The bus was supposed to be back by three o’clock so we could have our three hours with the campers, but by six, they had still not returned. Brian and I were going to spend the evening at his family’s dairy farm in Finlayson, which was a fifteen-mile bike ride from the camp. Before leaving, we gave a copy of the script to Dave to look over, and another copy for Sally to read. As we were riding our bikes up the dirt road leading out of the camp, the bus finally showed up. The kids seemed sad to see us leaving…? They actually were waving at us as we rode by. We were not scheduled to work with the campers on Thursday, so we had a full day at the dairy farm to look forward to. Yahoo!