montana photograph Something Goes Right
These are trying times for all of us. And it’s easy to get sucked into current events that make us feel like everything is going wrong.
Meg Singer of the Montana ACLU gave a presentation about things we can do to improve life on Montana’s Indian reservations the other night here in Bozeman. During the presentation, Ms. Singer talked about the media’s fascination with what she called, “Poverty Porn.”
So often the stories we see about Native Americans are about the despair in their lives. And I’m not saying there isn’t desperation on Montana’s seven Indian reservations. But there are good things happening too.
So it was great to be sent up to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northwest Montana by World Wildlife Fund to cover what’s working up there. I found that most of the efforts center around the bison, which is seen as an anchor for the culture of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, who call themselves the Buffalo People.
Here’s a few pictures:
The Fort Peck tribes now have a herd of bison culled from Yellowstone National Park that have been quarantined to be sure they are free of disease. The keep them at a place called, the Fort Peck Tribes Cultural Buffalo Herd Ranch Facility .
That was where they held the Buffalo People Summit, where local school children were bussed in to be introduced to the buffalo’s importance to the Assiniboine and Sioux identities.
Also on the Fort Peck Reservation, language skills are being passed on. Young Ethan Three Stars studies with Del First. Three Stars is said to be nearly fluent in the Dakota language.
Ramey Growing Thunder and her husband, Darryl, are big parts of the cultural preservation efforts at Fort Peck. Here, they pick wild turnips with their three children on the reservation.
Family is everything — people within the tribes are rarely just “friends.” They are often referred to as cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The buffalo are also part of their cultural family.
See these pictures on my website.