Reclaiming Sacred Spaces: The Importance of Native Identity in Yellowstone

"There are many layers of tradition that people carry with them and their families and their communities." - Shane Doyle

In this episode we talk with Dr. Shane Doyle, a Montana-based scholar, teacher, and community advocate whose work focuses on the history and heritage of Native American tribes of the Northern Great Plains. Growing up on the reservation, he experienced the rich oral traditions, history, and culture of his community. His native roots inspire him  to teach the importance and appreciation for the heritage and traditions of Native American cultures. As he delves into the complexities of identity, he shares his insights on the challenges faced by Native people in maintaining their cultural ties in the modern world. Shane's compelling narrative sheds light on the struggles of Native communities, the impact of colonialism, and the ongoing efforts to preserve and revitalize their cultural heritage. His story resonates with authenticity, offering a unique perspective that captures the essence of the contemporary Native American experience, and the significance of reconnecting with traditional roots in a rapidly changing society.

About Shane Doyle:

Dr. Shane Doyle is a Montana-based scholar, teacher, and community advocate whose work focuses on the history and heritage of Native American tribes of the Northern Great Plains. Shane is an enrolled member of the Apsáalooke Nation (also known as the Crow Tribe), and he holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Montana State University. Shane grew up in Crow Agency and he has built his career around making Native American history a cultural mainstay in everything from Montana’s educational system to governmental land management decisions. Whether designing educational curriculums, making films, or singing Northern Plains tribal music, Shane is always focused on serving his community.

Key Takeaways:

  • Explore the Native American Experience in Yellowstone.
  • Learn the Complex Challenges of Native American Identity.
  • Discover the Importance of Native Culture in the Contemporary World.
  • Gain Insights into the Yellowstone Revealed Event and Native Knowledge.
  • Recognize the importance of Native culture in the contemporary world and its significance in shaping modern society.
  • Explore the Native American Experience with Dr. Shane Doyle and his insight into cy
  • contemporary Native American life. 

Reflect on events like Yellowstone Revealed, he demonstrates the importance of these communities’ gaining visibility and expressing their heritage. This exploration calls for a more profound understanding and appreciation of Native American experiences and contributions.

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00:00:00
             

What's? Your why is brought to you by Wyoming Humanities. Our mission in this podcast is to inspire, engage, and inform bringing you relevant, timely topics about our shared human experience. In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, my special guest is Dr. Shane Doyle, scholar, writer, performing artist, and community advocate.         

00:00:25
             

His work is focused on the deep history and cultural heritage of the Indigenous people of the Northern Great Plains. Shane is an enrolled member of the Crow tribe who hails from Crow Agency, Montana. Welcome, Shane. Thank you so much. It's great to be here.         

00:00:43
             

It's a great honor. Well, it's an honor to have you on because as we were starting this series and celebrating Yellowstone National Park, Chloe said, we really need the Native American perspective. And right at that time, there was a lot coming out about Yellowstone and the National Park Service wanting to make efforts to research and explain the Native American history and prehistory of Yellowstone. So it was just all really timely. And then when like Chloe was saying, when you were presenting at the Native American Conference, the Native American Education Conference that happens every year in Riverton, it was so just kind of all coming together for us.         

00:01:30
             

So I'm so happy that we can have this conversation with you and hear that perspective and ask you questions. Wonderful. It does feel like a year where a lot of things are coming together, and especially around Yellowstone Park for Native people. And so I think you're right. It's a great moment.         

00:01:50
             

And I'm so happy that you're doing this podcast. So, yeah, I think your program is wonderful and what you're doing is great. Having a public discourse about these really timely, topical issues, that we have an opportunity now to kind of change course on some of these things that have been iconic and really foundational to American identity. That's interesting. American identity and Native American identity, and they are and are not one and the same.         

00:02:22
             

Right. Just like I have my own Hispanic identity. But what's interesting and has always been interesting to me has been the fact that my dad is half Navajo, but he was raised by a Hispanic family, his grandfather. So they never really knew that part of their cultural heritage.         

00:02:45
             

And I think that that probably happens to a lot of Native Americans. Absolutely. I reflect back 20 years ago on the 2020 census I'm sorry, the year 2000 Census, and there were 60 million Americans at that time who identified as being descendants of Native ancestors. And so at that time, the official enrollment in America was less than 2 million. I think it was maybe one and a half million, but there were 60 million people who identified as being Native American, or at least from that ancestry.         

00:03:27
             

And so you have a lot of different layers and a lot of different ways to identify who is a Native American. And it's an ongoing thing, topic to discuss, I think. And while it has legal ramifications as well, obviously it's like impersonating a police officer, right? You can't claim to be Native American if you're not enrolled. And so that's kind of a disclaimer.         

00:03:55
             

A lot of folks will write Native American. If they're going to do a bio, then we assume that they're enrolled. So if they put a qualifier in there of Native American descent, then we understand they haven't made the cut as far as the blood quantum goes, but they identify themselves as Native American. And I think there's like a million different ways to be Native American in today's day and age. More than a million.         

00:04:23
             

Obviously, there are many layers of tradition that people carry with them and their families and their communities. And then the communities are all different. I think here on the Northern Plains, we're kind of similar to the Southwest and also, I think, the know Great Lakes tribes a little similar to them in terms of we have a lot of intact communities that harbor still a great well of oral tradition and history and culture. And so even though we've suffered through boarding schools and loss of land and change in economy and everything under the sun from colonization, we still have a lot left. And you don't really see that when you go, like I said, to the East Coast, for example, or head down to the Southeast.         

00:05:27
             

Very difficult to find Native communities that are extensive and inclusive and have been there for a long time. And a lot of that, of course, is remnants of the 1830 Removal Act. And we had our own Indian removal here in Montana and Wyoming, but it was nothing like that. Well, when we've asked my dad, especially as he's gotten older, why didn't you teach us to relate to our Navajo heritage? Well, the truth was that his grandfather and his brother were adopted by a Hispanic family.         

00:06:07
             

So instead they grasped on to their Hispanic heritage, their Mexican American heritage. They didn't have that knowledge that they could pass on to him because they were adopted. Yeah, it's hard. That's why the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed to protect Native children from being adopted outside of their communities. And I think the biggest reason for that from a larger context is that Native communities are oral traditions.         

00:06:40
             

And if you grow up outside of that oral tradition, there is really no way to find out about it. And that is so different from practically any other culture you think of, like the Hispanic tradition. There are millions, thousands of Native kids who have some Hispanic ancestry, but they can find that and they can see that in mass media. They can find Spanish speaking films and art and music, and there are Spanish speaking countries and there are all these different aspects. And it's a very diverse, modern community for Hispanics.         

00:07:27
             

And I think last month was Hispanic month. Was it? Or here in America the second half of the month. So I guess what I'm saying is the reason why it's so important for Native kids to grow up in their communities is because they can't access information and relationships to their community through any other way than growing up there. And then later on, when they try to come back, like, let's say you grow up off the reservation and you want to go back as an adult, I think it's a good thing.         

00:08:05
             

I think people do that, and it's always a good thing to want to circle back to your traditional community and your family roots. But I think it's challenged to be a part of a community that you haven't really grown up in. So there, again, is another way to identify as a Native person, like you say, like yourself, someone who has Native American blood in them. You know, where you're from, you can identify your tribe, but because you've been generations removed now from the community, you don't know the language or the ceremonies or the families and all those other things that make someone feel like they're a part of a tribe. I kind of have that same thing here and to some degree here in Bozeman with my family because I have five children and they didn't grow up on the reservation.         

00:08:59
             

And so they kind of grew up in a community that's vastly white. And even at that, Bozeman is becoming more and more, less and less diverse, I guess we could say. And so I wonder if that's really I know it's not how I really want my kids. It's not how I would choose to have my kids grow up in a community like that. But I look at the options.         

00:09:29
             

They were born here. They were brought up here. They have friends here. We're about 3 hours from the reservation. So they do not have the same identity as a Native person that I grew up with.         

00:09:44
             

That's kind of sad. It is sad to me. I think it's a hard thing to accept, but at the same time, they're doing very well. They understand their identity as Native people. They participate.         

00:09:58
             

They're dancers, so we can go to Powwows, and they can be part of that community, and we visit the reservation throughout the year. But it's different. It's just different from growing up there, from people watching you grow up and seeing everyone else and understanding who's related to who going all the way back and all those things that really, like I said, make you feel like you're part of that community. That kind of reminds me of my family because it's kind of like when your dad gets his doctorate, which my dad did in education, and you move your family to the other side of the tracks, okay, you move them out of the body, you become part of the white, educated culture, and your whole life changes. And so you're no longer part of that.         

00:10:47
             

You're not part of that. You're kind of stuck in the middle. It's a great comment. Yeah. It's really what I saw happen with every one of us when we were growing up.         

00:11:00
             

We were like, okay, wait a minute. We're not accepted by the Mexicans anymore. We educated. We became part of the white culture, but we weren't part of the white culture. My dad played mariachi music as loud as he could every Saturday when he was outside working in the yard.         

00:11:20
             

I mean, it was just hilarious.         

00:11:24
             

We make tamales every Christmas. So many things that were cultural, but yet we were living kind of in between. We weren't part of that community, and we weren't part of that one. It's a strange reality. It's a colonial reality that we've all kind of inherited.         

00:11:43
             

It's a legacy of colonialism. And you would think and I think I was brought up and raised with this American dream idea that things were getting better.         

00:11:55
             

That middle part that we belonged to was actually growing, and that people who weren't part of that had great sympathy for that and appreciated as part of the melting pot. That was the term I grew up with, was melting pot. Obviously, later it was changed, and it was like, oh, no, melting pot. That's awful. It's more like a beef stew, but it's still hard to get away from gentrification and while you see some communities like the one I live in, just exponentially take off with wealth, and then the price of houses goes up, and then people who might want to live here cannot.         

00:12:39
             

Now and then you look at communities like the one I grew up in in pro agency, which are going on the path at the same speed in the opposite direction. In Crow, where I grew up, we used to have, like, two and three grocery stores, a couple gas stations, and things were pretty decent. As far as infrastructure goes, now there's nothing. There's no grocery stores in the town that I grew up in, and there's a bigger population now than there was. There's been arsonists that have come through and burned a lot of buildings down, and none of them have been repaired or rebuilt.         

00:13:18
             

I can go on and on about how the infrastructure has lagged behind. If it wasn't for a few leaders in the community like my uncle who have helped to get the water infrastructure upgraded and ready for the 21st century, it would be really third world beyond third world conditions there. And so those are your choices, right? And then, like you say in a city, you have the wrong side of the tracks. Here's a great statistic for you that I got the other night here in Bozeman at what they call the Symbosium event.         

00:13:55
             

We had this statistician in from Boston, and he kind of looks at tax rates and all these other different aspects of local economies and then traces the history of the children who go up there and their income levels and all that. And he said, On Main Street Bozeman, the kids who grow up on the south side of Main Street Bozeman will make at least 50% more money in their lifetimes than the kids who grow up on the North Side. It's a small street. It's not a very big street. It's Montana, for crying out loud.         

00:14:34
             

But we're talking about completely different life paths that these kids are going on. Again, as a Native American in the 21st century, you ask yourself, where do I fit into all that? And I think for Native people, we've always felt like we're excluded from pretty much everything and anything. Like anything that you see on TV or the movies or pick up in a magazine or whatever, we're an addition to that. We're the add on, but we're not.         

00:15:10
             

Like when I was growing up as a kid on the reservation, I always felt like behind a two way mirror, I could see out and see everyone out there, but no one was really looking back. And when they were looking, when they did look at the reservations, they were kind of like seeing more of a reflection of what they thought was reality than actually was actually the truth. So I think all those things are topics of discussion for today's Native people. And that's kind of the segue into the Yellowstone Park thing that played a big role in what we wanted to do in Yellowstone this summer with bringing all the tribes together, because that's our traditional homeland. There are many of us who share that place.         

00:15:58
             

Our ancestors walked through there, they prayed there, they told stories and gathered plants there and traded with one another. And it wasn't just them, it was modern day people. We still go there today, and we're tourists and visitors considered to be like everybody else. But I think when Native people go to the Yellowstone Park, the ones that understand that that's part of our homeland, it doesn't have to be a big show, and it has to be something that's authentic and real for the family, for the people that go. So for the Teepee Village, there were those two different ideas of what the village should be.         

00:16:48
             

Was it a place for tourists in the Yellowstone Park to see all about Native people and the history there and learn? Yeah, it was. Or was it for Native people to come together for themselves, to support one another, to have a community of our own? Because we've never had that before, and to just take a moment to say, we've come here. We're here now.         

00:17:17
             

Where do we go from here? And I was more leaning towards that second one. And this thing in the Yellowstone Park is for Native people who, like yourself, maybe understand their ancestry, but we've been so far removed for so many generations now that it's going to take an effort. It's going to take a concerted effort and it's going to be an intentional thing. How do we reinsert ourselves back into the Yellowstone Park to identify with that so that we can then share that with the next generations?         

00:17:57
             

And you see white people come in, they're going to enjoy it, they're going to take photographs and love it and have a good time and everything. But it's going to mean something different to them than it is for us. As an educator and as someone who works a lot of the public, I understood that we take a big risk when you set up a village like that because you get a lot of ignorant people that come through. Some of them are racist. Some of them may not think of themselves as racist, but they're so ignorant that they have picked up racist tendencies that they don't recognize or understand.         

00:18:32
             

And you're opening yourself up for all that. And I think that we have to be secure in our identity as Native people and to do an event like that to open ourselves up to the public and to really, I think, embrace our identity as modern day people. And that's a tough thing to do, like I said, because we don't really have the American dream the way immigrants do and the way Americans do. Our American dream isn't to go off and live across the tracks and take our kids away from the reservation and never have anything to do with those people. That's not our American dream.         

00:19:14
             

Our American dream is to stay on our homeland and have a comfortable living and live a happy life and healthy one, to teach our kids all those good things to kind of come full circle. And I'm rambling here on, but all of those things were part of vision for the Yellowstone Park healing, accepting ourselves as modern people with identities that are different and diverse, establishing ourselves in this sacred shared space that we all need to really heal from the wounds of colonization. I know it was recently, but when was there a big celebration in?         

00:20:06
             

A lot of Native people came together. Yeah, we had Yellowstone Revealed is what it was called. And that was the third week in August. We're actually kind of the fourth week in August, so it was August 23 right through the 20 eight. So, we had the Teepee set up.         

00:20:25
             

We had 13 Teepee set up. We had tribal representatives at all them and we had performance art projects that we did that week. And we did tours. We took people on tours of the park, daily tours with Native elders who shared stories and stuff. So it was just that one week.         

00:20:48
             

And then we wrapped things up and started thinking about next year. So who instigated that? Whose idea was that? How did that even happen? It's a great question.         

00:21:02
             

I was kind of the guy who was credited with it because I was teaching a class in Yellowstone Park about the Crow tribe. And I always wanted to see a Tiki village there in the park. So that was always in my know, I've always I've done work with Mountain Time Arts based here in Bozeman, and they're a performance art, I guess, oriented group. And so we do performance art projects in August every year. And all of our performance art projects are Native themed and they're outdoors and they're usually focused on body of water, like a river or a lake or stream creek.         

00:21:47
             

And so those were the two, I guess, big pieces, was my knowledge of the park and connection there and then my connection to Mountain Time Arts. And then the idea came about when a Smithsonian article interviewed me, this author of the Smithsonian article on the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone. And in the article I mentioned the Teepee Village and it gains traction. A lot of people like the idea. And there was a guy here in Bozeman named JB Askew, and he still lives here, and he's still, of course, a big part of our team, but he has Choctaws sent and he said, I would love to see a TP village in the park.         

00:22:35
             

And he started reaching out to the park superintendent and having a conversation with him. And superintendent was supportive of it. So JB said, I'm willing to help finance some type of discussion on this. And so he paid for a retreat and Wyoming Humanities, we brought in Native people from all throughout the state, people who we knew mostly from the university and just through contacts around Indian country. And we had a three day retreat.         

00:23:13
             

And we talked about this back in the summer of 2021. And then after that, it was just a matter of getting the details down and raising all the money. That was an incredible feat, really, and really celebrated. And I was so happy to see it. I wish I sad I missed it, actually.         

00:23:36
             

So there's just so many questions I have to ask you. So you took your kids off the reservation, right? Yes. And I think that's interesting because like you said, they lose that part of their identity and their community by doing that yes. You are giving them something that they might not otherwise have or experience.         

00:24:02
             

By doing that, it is such a huge decision. But going forward, do you feel like because you've had this opportunity to be educated and to learn and to work for your people in a new real like you're giving voice to the Native American people, do you think that's making a.         

00:24:28
             

We all, all of us in America, have an opportunity to advocate and support Native communities? And no matter what you do or where, you're know, there's little things that you can do. Another thing too, I've thought about a lot is know the reservation is an imaginary boundary that was know by the United States, and they don't include our homelands like the Yellowstone Park. And so even though I am living here in Bozeman, and my kids have grown up here, and part of the reason well, the biggest reason why my kids are living here and growing up here is because they were born here, because I was going to college at the time, grad school, and then we just stayed. I think that it's still my homeland, and even though it's not in the reservation, it's still part of all these rivers here that I live by.         

00:25:27
             

I live by the Gallatin River here. And the Crow Indians call that Choke Cherry River. And my kids know that, and they know the names of the mountains here and all the different landforms. It feels like home to me, even though it's not the reservation. But the biggest thing, I think, like you said, is the community.         

00:25:48
             

And we do have a native community here in Bozeman at the university, but it's always transient. It's always people in family housings. They stay till they get their degree, and then they have to go find a job somewhere. And that's another part of modern life, is where are you going to find a job? If you want to live on the reservation, you want to raise your children there, where are you going to work?         

00:26:11
             

The income is so I mean, the opportunities there are so minimal that you would have to have a very specialized area, right? You'd have to be your teacher or healthcare provider, the basic services, which there's nothing wrong with that. But if you don't want to do that, though, what if you want to do something different?         

00:26:38
             

It's one of those questions that's never really answered. I think I heard someone else say that recently about where they were living, and they were like, well, it's an ongoing decision, and it is. Honestly, for me, I had an aunt and uncle who, after my uncle got his degree, they moved to Washington, DC. And he worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for years and years, you know, 25 years. And when they moved back, finally, when they finished and he retired, he wanted to move back to the reservation, and that was their dream.         

00:27:17
             

And when they came back, they were so happy to be back home again.         

00:27:24
             

I'm wondering if I'm going to be like that. I don't know. I'm just going to kind of go with how you know, at the moment. So I'm not ruling anything out, I. Guess, on your voice in Yellowstone National Park.         

00:27:43
             

Is this going to be an ongoing celebration? What changes were actually made? It's a great question.         

00:27:52
             

I think everyone that was involved, including the people in the park, feel like this is an ongoing thing. But I will say that it was expensive and that it did require fundraising. And the goal, I think, for Camshali, who's a park superintendent, who really from the onset, said, I want to have if at all possible, all 27 affiliated tribes participate in this event. And my goal from the very beginning as far as recruiting people to be part of the TP Village, when I told Mountain Time Arts, because they're the ones who really I was just like an advisor. Mountain Time Arts has really did all the heavy lifting and everything.         

00:28:42
             

But I told them, I think you should pay the tribal people that come here at least $2,000. Because even though I guess it depends on which way you look at, does it sound like a lot or does it sound like not very much or does it sound like just about right? I think it's appropriate. And I told Mountain Time Arts, in the years to come, I would like to see that increase to, like, $3,000 to where they're making at least $1,000 a day, because the knowledge and the presence that they provide is really priceless. And they're taking time out of their year, out of their lives to travel all the way to the park and be a part of this.         

00:29:30
             

And if we want to pay 27 tribes 2000 $3,000 just for their advisors, we're looking at at least about $100,000 there just in salary. And then that doesn't include all of the other expenses that go along with it. So I guess we want it to be permanent. And then the other part of your question is probably the best part that no one's actually asked that for me yet. And that is what has changed.         

00:30:03
             

And the truth is really nothing has changed.         

00:30:08
             

There has been no statute written up in past or there's been no written language instituted that guarantees this is going to be an annual event. Nothing. You're spot on about that. The only thing that's changed is the confidence level in the folks in the park and the folks in Indian Country that we can do this, that we can all do this, that we can come together as a team, all of the logistical challenges that we faced. And then we had the flood that washed out the road at Mammoth and that totally changed everything we were going to do because we had no intention of doing anything in Madison Junction that was forced because of the flood.         

00:30:58
             

And so we were able to really navigate through all that because we were a solid team that were pretty much all on the same page. And we didn't all agree on everything, that's for sure. But we all did agree that it was worth compromising to make this thing happen. And I think that we have lots of opportunity to make it a permanent installation if we are savvy about how we continue to fundraise and if we can convince and I don't think it's going to take a lot. Of convincing or arm twisting, but just to show and prove that what we're doing makes a difference.         

00:31:43
             

It makes a difference to everyone involved. For the native people there, for their communities, for the next generation, for the park employees, for the rangers, for the tour guides there, for the visitors, for the local people in West Yellowstone and the folks who live in mean, everyone benefits from this. And it's worth it to do mean in the nonprofit world, you see so much money going to so many different endeavors and how many of them have the kind of impact that this does. I think that we need to really make sure that people understand the value of this installation so that we can continue to make it happen. And who's to say it doesn't get bigger and even longer?         

00:32:32
             

But why does it only have to be a week? Maybe we could do longer. It's open. Do you have any questions, Chloe and Lucas? I have just been loving every bit of I yes, I have a million questions, but we don't have enough time.         

00:32:55
             

I think my biggest question about Yellowstone specifically and Native populations inhabiting the space, what was the transition like or how did it happen when Yellowstone became a national park? I know it wasn't rainbows and butterflies like we just think it was. So what was that experience like for Native populations in that area? It's a great question because there's a lot of misunderstandings about what happened with park. The truth is that there were two big gold rushes that impacted Native communities here that changed everything for them.         

00:33:46
             

And both of those gold rushes happened before the park was established. So by the time the park was established, really, the colonial damage had been done. It wasn't like people were free and wandering all around the Yellowstone Park and then all of a sudden they were like, get out of here, we're cleaning this place full of savages. And there was some of that because I think the sheep eater shone. People lived there right up through the 1880s, I think, honestly.         

00:34:18
             

But you have the 1850 treaty, and that treaty there was because of the California Gold Rush. And that established the park as Indian country because there were still no interests there for the government to negotiate for. But then the second gold rush to Virginia City opened, the Bozeman Trail. That one there forced the second treaty. When Red Cloud closed, the trail forced the treaty, and that treaty in 1868 put Yellowstone Park outside the boundary of Indian country.         

00:35:00
             

So in 1868, the treaty negotiations shrank the Crow Indian Reservation. And a lot of times, and I think most people think that the Red Cloud War was a victory for Red Cloud and that it was a great victory for all Native people. But in fact, it wasn't. It was really bad for the Crow Indians because we lost that part of our land base. And then the other thing to remember is that when those reservations were first established, like 1850, 1868, those Native people were not allowed to leave those boundaries.         

00:35:42
             

That's why. Those boundaries were established because they said, this is where you stay now. You can't go over here anymore unless you get special permission, written permission. And so by the time the park was established, all the Native people had already been stuck behind reservation lines.         

00:36:05
             

Wow. Thank you for that timeline. And I just want to draw what you've just said back to what you said previously, which is that originally, and I think people don't understand this now because a lot of people, I've come to realize, don't even see Native Americans as a modern, living people. But I think a lot of people see reservations as they are now and how they operate now compared to what they were initially, which was very restrictive. And so I just love what you said, is that the reservation is not your ancestral homeland, per se.         

00:36:47
             

Right. The reservation, it's a piece of it. It's a very small piece of it. And so I loved that when you said that even in Bozeman, even though you're not on your reservation proper, you're in your land. You're on your land.         

00:37:03
             

And that wasn't the case for those initial reservation boundaries. And I think that's interesting to note. I think a lot of people don't realize that. Yeah, you hear people use that phrase, I'm going off the reservation. And I've always wondered, what are they saying that for?         

00:37:28
             

Are they saying that because they're about to go rogue? Because if going off the reservation and being a rogue are the same thing, I'm not so sure that that's a compliment. Maybe it is.         

00:37:46
             

And the other thing about Plains Indians is that we moved around. That was part of our lifestyle. We had winter camps and we had places where we moved around during the summer, and so we were constantly crossing over onto each other's homelands. And that's a lot different from, like, say, the Pueblos or the folks on the Northwest Coast or even on the East Coast where they have their long houses and they have their little areas where they hunt, and they don't like it when people cross in. And that was not the case here in Montana and Wyoming.         

00:38:23
             

First of all, there was millions of bison. It's not like there was a shortage on bison or, you know, no one was really worried about that. The only thing that they were concerned about was the winter campsites. And it just so happens that Yellowstone is not a very good place to spend the winter, and it's still not today.         

00:38:46
             

I would highly discourage that. One thing I'm so fascinated with is the whole teepee and the ability because we've put up our own teepee and it's not easy. Okay. No, I think about how quickly they could break down a teepee and move it and put it up like bam. And I'm like, I wish I could do that because it took me and my sister and my husband, and we all had our poles, and we had to know where the poles were and how's it going to wrap.         

00:39:28
             

And we had this whole we had. A day, our teepee, and that was the easy part. Yeah, you're right. The hard part was killing those bison, taking all the hides. So let's say you have a 14 foot teepee, which is pretty small.         

00:39:49
             

That means you need 14 hides. So you have to stitch together. You have to tan 14 bison. Then you have to stitch them all together, and you have to know how to stitch them right so that they'll all stay together and that they'll show up actually look like a teepee when you're done. I mean, this is the kind of knowledge that we lose over time and even in the most traditional communities.         

00:40:14
             

I've never in my life seen an actual bison high TV, because that kind of knowledge that disappeared when bison disappeared back in the 1880s. And so there's a lot of history, I guess, that people, when they dig deeper underneath the surface, find out that there's a lot to learn, there's a lot to learn, and that Native people have a lot to offer.         

00:40:40
             

Know the contemporary world, absolutely. A lot of skills. I don't know. I'm from Riverton.         

00:40:51
             

I have no Native blood in me, as they say.         

00:41:00
             

I was closer to Native cultures than other people in Wyoming, which I didn't realize until I left Riverton as an adult. I didn't realize that. But there's something that happens in the presence of especially large groups of Native people when they come together to share of themselves and of their culture. And I wish everyone could experience it. And so I really hope that this Yellowstone Revealed event continues to be a mainstay in the park, because, like I said, I think a lot of people and I'm coming to realize this just in the last couple of years, a lot of people don't understand that Indians are not of the past.         

00:41:46
             

They are very much of the modern day participating in a colonial world and very successfully in a lot of ways. So I'm just really appreciative of the work that you're doing and of all the information you've shared with us today. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, I mean, we just scratched the surface, but it was really good to speak with both of you.         

00:42:11
             

And like I said, I really love your program and all the good things that you're doing. And we need more open, public discussions about these kinds of topics because they always are time well spent. Absolutely. I mean, understanding or walking in someone else's shoes takes a long time. It takes a lot of effort.         

00:42:37
             

It's not something that just happens overnight. And when we try to understand someone else's perspective, whatever that perspective is, even if we disagree with it, or they live differently than we do, or they value something different than we do, it takes a long time to understand the why and to understand there's a lot of history. And whatever inside of them that they've grown up with is not just something that went like that. It's something that people develop and grow with.         

00:43:16
             

Yeah, it'll take lots of conversations, but I am so happy and thank you so much for having this conversation with us today. It was a great pleasure. I really enjoyed it. Thank you again, I was looking forward to this.         

00:43:39
             

Thank you for joining us for this episode of what's your Why? Brought to you by Wyoming Humanities with support from Wyoming Community Foundation and generous supporters like you. To learn more, go to thinkwide.org subscribe and never miss a show.