Yellowstone National Park turns 150 years old this year and is celebrating the landmark with a new Tribal Heritage Center, as reported by the Points Guy. This center honors the park’s connection to 27 tribal nations who have lived on the land for more than 11,000 years.
This marks some effort on the part of the National Park System and nonprofit partner Yellowstone Forever to better acknowledge the land theft that created Yellowstone.
At the center, Indigenous artists, scholars and presenters will directly engage visitors formally and informally, to share art forms and Tribal heritage. Programming has been up and running since May: This weekend, Brenda Rygg (Little Shell Chippewa) will present on ribbon skirts, and from Aug. 2 to Aug. 6 Evans Flammond Sr. (Oglala Lakota, Rosebud Sioux) will demonstrate hide painting and Ledger Art drawing techniques. Each month, multiple presenters are scheduled, ending with Corbin Dean Lefthand (Crow) presenting on beadwork and hand game pieces Sept. 27-30.
In August 23-28, Yellowstone will erect a temporary teepee village at the park’s north entrance. There, tribal members will share their heritage and culture with visitors. The same week, an educational program celebrating the 150th anniversary takes place at Lamar Buffalo Ranch, called Yellowstone: 150 Years and Beyond. The catered program focuses on the park’s complex history.
Earlier this year, Yellowstone also renamed one of its mountains First Peoples Mountain. Its previous name honored Army officer Gustavus Doane, who led the Marias Massacre against Native Americans in 1870.
All these efforts are geared towards reflecting on the past and uplifting the often ignored Indigenous voices of the people who lived in Yellowstone first, were pushed out violently, and still have a cultural connection there.