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Montana Blackfeet

High School Service Program

Conservation & Tradition on a

Native American Reservation

Montana Blackfeet 1

Montana Blackfeet 2
July 6 – 26 | 21 Days
85 Service Hrs | $6,290

Montana Blackfeet 3
August 1 –  12 | 12 Days
40 Service Hrs | $4,290

Live on a conservation ranch amidst the rolling grasslands of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana with a backdrop of glacial peaks. Engage in diverse volunteer projects as a way to show gratitude to this honorable community for sharing their lives with us. Attend cultural events, connect with the land, and open yourself to a powerful experience that will resonate with you for a lifetime.

  • Deep Immersion, Cultural Events & Ceremonies
  • Rocky Mountains, Short Hikes & Swimming Holes
  • Carpentry, Conservation, Animal Care & Human Services


“We were like one big family. I felt comfortable with everyone there. I tried new things, met new people, and learned about myself. I have grown a lot and I brought that home with me.”

—Paden Dvoor

Living and working with Blackfeet tribal members offers unforgettable insights into the generosity, wisdom and 10,000 year-old culture of the Plains Indians.

Friends Become Family

Your experience with the Blackfeet Nation is enriched by three decades of partnerships that VISIONS groups have forged before your arrival. You’ll live and work on Blackfeet ancestral lands, where connections to each other and the land are inseparable. Respect for sacred cultural practices is an inherent part of each day and you’ll spend time with local people who warmly welcome you, sharing stories and leading activities.

The atmosphere is family-like, beginning with gorgeous mornings and continuing throughout the day—whether at project sites, excursions, cookouts or campfires.

Friends Become Family


“I loved getting out of my city lifestyle and living a simpler life that was more carefree.”

—Julianna Ross

Under a famously big sky, Montana’s prairies, mountains, streams and glacial lakes provide an awesome launching point for adventurous fun.


With one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in our backyard, we take short hikes, spend a night camping, ride horses and do an introductory rock climb in true Montana style. There will also be constant opportunities to learn about Plains Indians culture. We learn crafts from local artisans, explore the town of Browning, and spend time with tribal members who are native speakers, historians and healers.

Depending on the program session, you can attend the early-July or August Indian Days powwow, where dancing and drumming competitions, ornate regalia and teepees are a reminder of the power of resilience and tradition.


  • Take Short Hikes & Cool Off In Mountain Streams
  • Camp a night under thousands of stars
  • Attend a Powwow with traditional dancing & drumming
  • Horseback Ride with Blackfeet Outfitters
  • Tour historic sites & Museum of the Plains Indian
  • Rock climb with professional guides


“The community service was rewarding every day of the program. We were able to personally interact with those who would benefit from the work. I loved working, and I’m so glad that I was able to contribute to such a wonderful cause.”

—Rachel Oshiro

Service Matters

With the highest percentage of Americans living below the poverty line, Indian reservations often lack adequate infrastructure and resources. Our work meets some of these needs in collaboration with local partners.

VISIONS teen volunteers use power and hand tools to build wheelchair ramps and other structures. We provide meals and interact with local kids at the Child Nutrition Program, and take on environmental initiatives ranging from removing invasive weeds to biological surveys for Glacier Volunteers.

Projects also include setting up teepee lodges for ceremonies, caretaking the conservation ranch, fostering puppies, and more.


“With Elouise at the helm, they would bring the land back and by the following year accomplish something that had never been done before; formulate the first Land Trust in the country on an Indian Reservation.”

Our homebase is the Yellow Bird Woman Sanctuary, a conservation ranch owned by the Blackfeet Indian Land Trust, located a few miles outside the main reservation town of Browning. Unobstructed views of Glacier National Park absorb us and we are mindful of our stewardship of the ranch’s rare ecosystem that includes one of the only glacial fen wetlands in the country.

Accommodations are basic but comfortable, and as part of our environmental responsibilities we are mindful of resources to minimize our impact. Read more about our Blackfeet home away from home.

VISIONS was originally invited to live at the ranch in the early 2000s by the late Elouise Cobell, a modern warrior for Indigenous justice whose impact lives on. We continue to live and work here in her honor, and in partnership with the Land Trust.




Elouise Cobell, also known by her Blackfeet name Yellow Bird Woman, left an indelible impact on communities far and wide. Her story stands out in history as that of what President Obama called, “A Champion of Native American rights.” For VISIONS, she represents the model of an engaged citizen and she connected us to the land, history and community of the Blackfeet Nation in a profound way.

Read More

Elouise’s legacy as an activist developed from her career in banking. She served as Treasurer of the Blackfeet Tribe, co-founded the first national bank located on a reservation and owned by a Native American tribe, and won a MacArthur Genius Award for her work on Native financial literacy. Her credentials do not end there, and most notably Elouise was the lead plaintiff in a landmark class-action suit against the Federal Government for mismanagement of Indian funds.

Elouise had discovered irregularities in accounting that showed the government had been short-changing tribes across the country since the 1800s. She spent more than a decade seeking reform before filing the Cobell v. Salazar suit in 1996. The case was ultimately settled in 2009 for $3.4 billion. By then it had spanned three presidencies, engendered seven trials and gone before a federal appeals court ten times.

The settlement was allocated to repurchasing land for tribal ownership and a scholarship fund for Native students. In the aftermath of the settlement, the Secretary of the Interior created a new commission to evaluate the Indian Trust system and in 2016 President Obama awarded Elouise with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Every summer Elouise took time out of her rigorous schedule to meet with VISIONS students, who were riveted by hearing her account of Blackfeet struggles and the throughline relationship of those struggles to the injustices that had been propped up by the case. We were also honored to hear about the Cobell case directly from Elouise, who brought clarity to complex and century-old issues.

In the early 2000s, Elouise invited VISIONS to be the summer caretakers of a beautiful conservation ranch, a responsibility and homebase that we continue to honor today. After Elouise passed in 2011, the ranch was renamed the Yellow Bird Woman Sanctuary. Although she is no longer with us in body, Elouise is part of our program through spirit and family.

To learn more about Elouise, read an article by our Executive Director and check out the documentary, 100 Years.

Montana Blackfeet Blog Posts

Your Impact Lives On

Your Impact Lives On

Since our inception in 1988, VISIONS continues to offer some of the best volunteer opportunities for high school students there are. Projects are ambitions and real, and have an impact that lasts on the community. And you—our alum—are part of that legacy.

Spotlight: Tim Parsons, Former VISIONS Leader and Office Staff

Spotlight: Tim Parsons, Former VISIONS Leader and Office Staff

Tim has led VISIONS programs all over the world – Mississippi, Australia, South Carolina, Dominica, Alaska, Montana Blackfeet Indian Reservation and Montana Northern Cheyenne. Today he uses the skills that he developed as a VISIONS team member to enhance his life and others’ around him.

VISIONS in The New York Times