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Little Shell

Paul Kane, “Half Breed Encampment” Plains Métis, 1849–56. A painting of an 1846 Little Shell Tribe encampment showing the tribe lived in tepees but also used ‘Red River’ carts and oxen.

Montana State Parks will host “A Landless People: Montana’s Little Shell Tribe” at Pictograph Cave State Park on July 28 at 1 p.m.

Nicholas Vrooman will discuss the indigenous North Americans known as the Métis/Michif (in Montana known as “Landless Indians”), part of the aboriginal people who live along the Medicine Line of the Canadian and U.S. border, between Lake of the Woods (in Minnesota) and the Rocky Mountains (Montana), and were left out of the reconfiguration of the North American West.

During the last third of the 19th century, as these new nation-states exerted effective control over the northern Great Plains and those aboriginal societies within that geography, they made critically disastrous decisions concerning “who was who, who was whose, who was in, and who was out.”

Those choices gave form to the relationships between the First Peoples of the borderlands and the federal governments of the United States and Canada today. Some First Peoples, such as Montana’s Little Shell Tribe, were left out of that settlement process. This presentation tells that story.

For more information call the park visitor center at 254-7342.

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