Saturday, June 27, 2015

Blackfeet Nation

The plains indian tribes migrated west till they hit the Rockies, which are steeper on the east side. 
The area around East Glacier was settled by the Blackfeet who came south from Canada 400-500 years ago. There were 30 million buffalo at the time. 200 years later, horses and firearms began to reach the Blackfeet. 

By the U.S. Survey 100 years ago, only 1100 buffalo survived. Today thanks to major efforts by farmers and conservationists, there are half a million buffalo. No longer endangered. 

I stopped off at the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning. 

No photos allowed, but they have an elegant mural and a fine small collection of historic buckskin garments, beaded moccasins, and weaving with porcupine quills. The informational video was narrated by Vincent Price! 

Based on the parking lots though, many more people were at the casino next door.

I talked with Ernest Marceau Jr., a talented local painter who uses 19th century tax ledgers as a canvas, and brought home two of his acrylics. 

For more authentic handmade Blackfeet crafts, contact Blackfeet Indian Market.

The historic park lodges also depict Native American culture, some more stereotypically than others. Tomorrow night I'll go to a Blackfoot storytelling performance inside the park. 

These totems are from the luxury Glacier Patk hotel. A few local motels even offer tepee camping—cultural appropriation meets glamping. Though I did love this drive thru espresso tepee. 

I'll stick to my little railroad cabin.