Montana Blackfeet

Program Itinerary

15 & 25 Day High School Service Programs

Montana Blackfeet 1

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2019 VISIONS Blackfeet Indian Reservation 1 program in Montana. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

 

June 29: Arrive at the Kalispell airport, where VISIONS leaders are waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) Then we’re off on a gorgeous two-hour drive through glacier country, alongside Glacier National Park, to get to our cozy homebase at the Yellow Bird Woman Sanctuary conservation ranch, a few miles outside the main reservation town of Browning. Once there, we settle in and start to get oriented.

 

June 30: On this first full day, leaders cook us a hearty breakfast. Continuing our orientation, we get to know the worksites and spend time with local carpenters who lead us through hand and power tool training for the construction projects ahead. In the afternoon, we hike and swim in the Two Medicine region of Glacier National Park. This area is a powerful and holy place for the Blackfeet, and in recent years has been a focal point for environmental and tribal groups coming together to fight oil-drilling interests. (The case against drilling was won last year.) We end the day with a relaxed dinner and our first Circle meeting.

 

July 1 – 5: Time to get to work, with three worksites to choose from, which may include repair and renovation of elders’ homes, building wheelchair ramps or community structures. We also begin our “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping and clean up of our living space. On one afternoon, we do a scavenger hunt in the reservation town of Browning to get to know our surroundings; one evening we relax by attending the popular local street dance there. On another day, we visit the Museum of the Plains Indian. We also take a day off from the worksites, and head out on a hike to Green Lake, where we have a cookout. We may also attend a Sun Dance sacred ceremony, helping with set-up and watching ancient dances reenacted.

 

July 6 – 7: Pack up our backpacks for a one-night camping trip in the Flathead National Forest. We hike in on the first day, set up our camp and campfire and share stories around the flames. The next day we bask in the incredible natural beauty of this place before striking camp and hiking out.

 

July 8 – 10: Dig in for the final week of work on our projects. Afternoon activities include a drive up Logan Pass (watch for Bighorn sheep and mountain goats) to hike to St. Mary’s Falls, a visit to the Blackfeet Heritage Center and Art Gallery, laidback outdoor games and beading projects at the ranch, and a Reservation tour with one of our Blackfeet friends who talks with us about the history of the important site and a sense of the vast history embedded into the landscape.

 

July  11 – 13: The final push to finish our worksite projects! We may also attend the North American Indian Days celebration, during which we’ll see a parade, Native American sports competitions, and a powwow with traditional dancing and drumming. We also do a Big Clean of our homebase and have a goodbye dinner with community friends. On our last day we wrap up our worksites, say our goodbyes and head to a campground near Kalispell, where we spend our last night before catching flights home the next day.

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2019 VISIONS Blackfeet Indian Reservation 1 program in Montana. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

June 29: Arrive at the Kalispell airport, where VISIONS leaders are waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) Then we’re off on a gorgeous two-hour drive through glacier country, alongside Glacier National Park, to get to our cozy homebase at the Yellow Bird Woman Sanctuary conservation ranch, a few miles outside the main reservation town of Browning. Once there, we settle in and start to get oriented.

June 30: On this first full day, leaders cook us a hearty breakfast. Continuing our orientation, we get to know the worksites and spend time with local carpenters who lead us through hand and power tool training for the construction projects ahead. In the afternoon, we hike and swim in the Two Medicine region of Glacier National Park. This area is a powerful and holy place for the Blackfeet, and in recent years has been a focal point for environmental and tribal groups coming together to fight oil-drilling interests. (The case against drilling was won last year.) We end the day with a relaxed dinner and our first Circle meeting.

July 1 – 5: Time to get to work, with three worksites to choose from, which may include repair and renovation of elders’ homes, building wheelchair ramps or community structures. We also begin our “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping and clean up of our living space. On one afternoon, we do a scavenger hunt in the reservation town of Browning to get to know our surroundings; one evening we relax by attending the popular local street dance there. On another day, we visit the Museum of the Plains Indian. We also take a day off from the worksites, and head out on a hike to Green Lake, where we have a cookout. We may also attend a Sun Dance sacred ceremony, helping with set-up and watching ancient dances reenacted.

July 6 – 7: Pack up our backpacks for a one-night camping trip in the Flathead National Forest. We hike in on the first day, set up our camp and campfire and share stories around the flames. The next day we bask in the incredible natural beauty of this place before striking camp and hiking out.

July 8 – 10: Dig in for the final week of work on our projects. Afternoon activities include a drive up Logan Pass (watch for Bighorn sheep and mountain goats) to hike to St. Mary’s Falls, a visit to the Blackfeet Heritage Center and Art Gallery, laidback outdoor games and beading projects at the ranch, and a Reservation tour with one of our Blackfeet friends who talks with us about the history of the important site and a sense of the vast history embedded into the landscape.

July  11 – 13: The final push to finish our worksite projects! We may also attend the North American Indian Days celebration, during which we’ll see a parade, Native American sports competitions, and a powwow with traditional dancing and drumming. We also do a Big Clean of our homebase and have a goodbye dinner with community friends. On our last day we wrap up our worksites, say our goodbyes and head to a campground near Kalispell, where we spend our last night before catching flights home the next day.

Montana Blackfeet 2

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2019 VISIONS Blackfeet Indian Reservation 2 program in Montana. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

 

July 18: Arrive at the Kalispell airport, where VISIONS leaders are waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) Then we’re off on a gorgeous two-hour drive through glacier country, alongside Glacier National Park, to get to our cozy homebase at the Yellow Bird Woman Sanctuary conservation ranch, a few miles outside the main reservation town of Browning. Once there, we settle in and start to get oriented.

 

July 19: On this first full day, leaders cook us a hearty breakfast. Continuing our orientation, we get to know the worksites and spend time with local carpenters who lead us through hand- and power-tool training for the construction projects ahead. In the afternoon, we hike and swim in the Two Medicine region of Glacier National Park. This area is a powerful and holy place for the Blackfeet, and in recent years has been a focal point for environmental and tribal groups coming together to fight oil drilling interests (The case against drilling was won 2 years ago). We end the day with a relaxed dinner and our first Circle meeting.

 

July 20 – 24: Time to get to work, with three worksites to choose from, which may include repair and renovation of elders’ homes, and building wheelchair ramps or community structures. We also begin our “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping and clean up of our living space. On one afternoon, we do a scavenger hunt in the reservation town of Browning to get to know our surroundings. On another, we visit the Museum of the Plains Indian. We may also attend a Sun Dance sacred ceremony, helping with set-up and watching ancient dances reenacted.

 

July 25: We take a Reservation tour with one of our Blackfeet friends who talks with us about the history of the important sites. This reservation encompasses 1.5 million acres (making it the third largest in Montana) and the tour gives us a sense of the vast history embedded into the landscape. In the evening we head back to the ranch for a cookout and s’mores.

 

July 26 – 27: After another day at the worksites on Friday, we take a day to explore the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park on Saturday. We drive up Logan pass (watch for Bighorn sheep and mountain goats) to hike to St. Mary’s Falls. Afternoon activities include a visit to the Blackfeet Heritage Center and Art Gallery, produce-shopping at a farmers market, and laidback outdoor games at the ranch and beading projects.

 

July 28 – August 1 : Dig back into our worksites, making tangible progress on projects. In the afternoons, we take a beading workshop, visit a nearby mountain stream for short hikes and swimming, spend time at Community Elder Dale Pepion’s ranch (helping with projects and taking in his rustic way of life), listening to guest speakers and visiting the Tipi Village to see how traditional tents are constructed. On the 4th of July we have a cookout and watch fireworks in town.

 

August 2 – 4: Pack up our backpacks for a two-night camping trip in the Flathead National Forest. We hike in on the first day, set up our camp and campfire and share stories around the flames. The next day we take day hikes from our camp and bask in the incredible natural beauty of this place. On the third day, we strike camp and hike out.

 

August 5 – 8: Work to complete all our projects, and in our spare time fully enjoy our last days here, going horseback riding in Glacier National Park, attending the popular street dance in town, making a jaunt to Green Lake for a campfire and s’mores, attending a youth rodeo, touring the greenhouse at Blackfeet Community College to learn about native medicinal plants, visiting the tribe’s buffalo herd, kicking back in a sweat lodge and welcoming guests and new friends for dinner.

 

August 9: We use our last day to spend time with people we’ve gotten to know on the reservation, and have a cook-off competition at the ranch. We may also attend the annual Powwow Indian Days celebration in the small Blackfeet town of Heart Butte. Friday also includes a Big Clean of our homebase.

 

August 10 – 11: On our last day we wrap up our worksites, say our goodbyes and head to a campground near Kalispell, where we spend our last night before catching flights home the next day.

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2019 VISIONS Blackfeet Indian Reservation 2 program in Montana. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

July 18: Arrive at the Kalispell airport, where VISIONS leaders are waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) Then we’re off on a gorgeous two-hour drive through glacier country, alongside Glacier National Park, to get to our cozy homebase at the Yellow Bird Woman Sanctuary conservation ranch, a few miles outside the main reservation town of Browning. Once there, we settle in and start to get oriented.

July 19: On this first full day, leaders cook us a hearty breakfast. Continuing our orientation, we get to know the worksites and spend time with local carpenters who lead us through hand- and power-tool training for the construction projects ahead. In the afternoon, we hike and swim in the Two Medicine region of Glacier National Park. This area is a powerful and holy place for the Blackfeet, and in recent years has been a focal point for environmental and tribal groups coming together to fight oil drilling interests (The case against drilling was won 2 years ago). We end the day with a relaxed dinner and our first Circle meeting.

July 20 – 24: Time to get to work, with three worksites to choose from, which may include repair and renovation of elders’ homes, and building wheelchair ramps or community structures. We also begin our “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping and clean up of our living space. On one afternoon, we do a scavenger hunt in the reservation town of Browning to get to know our surroundings. On another, we visit the Museum of the Plains Indian. We may also attend a Sun Dance sacred ceremony, helping with set-up and watching ancient dances reenacted.

July 25: We take a Reservation tour with one of our Blackfeet friends who talks with us about the history of the important sites. This reservation encompasses 1.5 million acres (making it the third largest in Montana) and the tour gives us a sense of the vast history embedded into the landscape. In the evening we head back to the ranch for a cookout and s’mores.

July 26 – 27: After another day at the worksites on Friday, we take a day to explore the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park on Saturday. We drive up Logan pass (watch for Bighorn sheep and mountain goats) to hike to St. Mary’s Falls. Afternoon activities include a visit to the Blackfeet Heritage Center and Art Gallery, produce-shopping at a farmers market, and laidback outdoor games at the ranch and beading projects.

July 28 – August 1 : Dig back into our worksites, making tangible progress on projects. In the afternoons, we take a beading workshop, visit a nearby mountain stream for short hikes and swimming, spend time at Community Elder Dale Pepion’s ranch (helping with projects and taking in his rustic way of life), listening to guest speakers and visiting the Tipi Village to see how traditional tents are constructed. On the 4th of July we have a cookout and watch fireworks in town.

August 2 – 4: Pack up our backpacks for a two-night camping trip in the Flathead National Forest. We hike in on the first day, set up our camp and campfire and share stories around the flames. The next day we take day hikes from our camp and bask in the incredible natural beauty of this place. On the third day, we strike camp and hike out.

August 5 – 8: Work to complete all our projects, and in our spare time fully enjoy our last days here, going horseback riding in Glacier National Park, attending the popular street dance in town, making a jaunt to Green Lake for a campfire and s’mores, attending a youth rodeo, touring the greenhouse at Blackfeet Community College to learn about native medicinal plants, visiting the tribe’s buffalo herd, kicking back in a sweat lodge and welcoming guests and new friends for dinner.

August 9: We use our last day to spend time with people we’ve gotten to know on the reservation, and have a cook-off competition at the ranch. We may also attend the annual Powwow Indian Days celebration in the small Blackfeet town of Heart Butte. Friday also includes a Big Clean of our homebase.

August 10 – 11: On our last day we wrap up our worksites, say our goodbyes and head to a campground near Kalispell, where we spend our last night before catching flights home the next day.

Celebrating 30 Years