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MTPR: Tribes in Montana reconnect with traditional resources

Filed Under: Education | Environment
More on: blackfeet, cskt, montana

"They’re not glaciers, and they’re not snow. They’re high-alpine ice patches, and as they melt, they reveal the history of the landscape. A partnership with the Park Service, several university professors, and northwest Montana tribes is using cutting edge technology and traditional knowledge to find and preserve items revealed by the melting ice patches.

Ira Matt runs the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Preservation Department.

“Our oral histories include both the living histories of the tribes, knowledge of the people that traveled the trails, the way that the alpine resources were utilized, the animals were hunted, and we also have a lot of oral histories pertaining to how things were established through our cultural world view,” Matt said.

“We re-locate an item whereas other people might discover it,” Matt said. “working together, we re-locate items, but what we might be discovering is new information that can really help us understand what’s going on with climate change; both from a paleo-ecological and the cultural perspectives.” Matt said for the tribe it’s a re-connection with an area that in many ways was cut off from the people when Glacier became a park and had certain restrictions placed on it.

Michael Durglo Senior also works with the Preservation office. He said both the Blackfeet and CSKT got involved with this project to make sure items found of important Tribal significance were properly handled."

Get the Story:
Tribal, Park Service, and University Partnership Studying Glacier Parks Ice Patches (Montana Public Radio 11/29)

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