Yellowstone Winter Ecology program takes students into the park to learn about historic land

Yellowstone National Park sign at the north entrance in Gardiner, Montana.

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY – Between Aug. 17-28, Yellowstone National Park will host multiple Tribal activities in the park to commemorate 150 Years of Yellowstone and Founders Day, the anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service on Aug. 25, 1916.

For over 10,000 years before Yellowstone became a national park, it was a place where Native Americans lived, hunted, fished, gathered plants, quarried obsidian and used thermal waters for religious and medicinal purposes. Currently, 27 associated Native American Tribes have historic and modern connections to the land and resources found within the park. The public is invited to join and learn about the historic and continued presence of American Indian Tribes in the Yellowstone region during several signature week activities.

Signature Week Activities

Yellowstone Revealed

Yellowstone is partnering with Mountain Time Arts to premiere “Yellowstone Revealed,” a series of public, place-based projects and artworks created by an inter-Tribal group of artists and scholars in locations throughout the park Aug. 17-28. All activities are free and open to the public.

  • Lighted Teepees: Resiliency of the People by Pretty Shield Foundation and Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council
    • Aug. 17-28: Seven teepees will be installed and illuminated nightly at sunset near the Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, Montana (North Entrance).
  • ReVisiting Cultural Landscapes Through Stories by Dean Nicolai (Bitterroot Salish) and Tim Ryan (Salish)
    • Aug. 23-27: This project will include a series of interpretive hikes, demonstrations, and storytelling at various locations in Yellowstone such as Sheepeater Cliffs, Storm Point and Obsidian Cliff. The purpose of this series is to give park visitors insight into diverse Indigenous knowledges, ways of knowing and connection to landscapes. Each day, different representative knowledge keepers will lead hikes and engage with visitors.
  • Space is limited for this activity and free reservations are required.
  • All Nations Teepee Village by Shane Doyle (Apsáalooke)
    • Aug. 23-27: At Madison Junction, 13 teepee lodges and 15 teepee rings will be featured to signify a new era of Indigenous inclusion and representation of the 27 associated Tribal Nations of Yellowstone National Park. This installation will come to life between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. with a community of Cultural Ambassadors sharing knowledge with visitors.
    • Aug. 23-25: Nightly performances will take place at 5 p.m. View a schedule of anticipated performers.
  • REMATRIATE by Patti Baldes (Northern Arapaho/Northern Paiute)
    • Aug. 24 (Madison Junction) and Aug. 25 (Old Faithful): An artwork showcasing seven moving buffalo sculptures made of willow branches will debut at sunset with 14 dancers and 10 drummers bringing the buffalo to life. The focus of this project is land rematriation through buffalo restoration.

Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center

Yellowstone National Park and official nonprofit partner, Yellowstone Forever, in collaboration with Tribal consultation, are piloting a Tribal Heritage Center within the park. The center provides a public space where Native American artists, scholars, and presenters can directly engage with visitors through formal and informal education. Visit the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center, located at Old Faithful (formerly the Haynes Photo Shop), to learn from and interact with Tribal artists and demonstrators.

  • Aug. 19-20: Mason Runs Through (Assiniboine) will present storytelling drumming.
  • Aug. 25-27: April Martin (Northern Cheyenne) will present storytelling and hands-on demonstrations with sweetgrass.
  • View the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center schedule for additional upcoming presenters and artists through the end of September.

Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Gathering

Aug. 25: The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes will hold a public gathering in the Old Faithful Lodge Recreation Hall (located behind the Old Faithful Lodge) to engage with visitors about the Tribes’ homeland. There will be morning remarks by Tribal Council Members and Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly, as well as informational booths, presentations, and dancing by Tribal members throughout the day.

Past 150 Years of Yellowstone Tribal Engagements

March: Wind River Inter-Tribal Virtual Gathering

To honor Indigenous ways of life practiced in the Yellowstone area long before its establishment in 1872 and explore how we can work together to create a brighter future, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Reservation welcomed all Tribal Nations and people to gather online to commemorate the park’s anniversary while elevating the Tribal community’s voice in conserving and managing Yellowstone.

May: Yellowstone National Park Lodges: 150 Years of Inspiration

Yellowstone’s lodging concessioner, Yellowstone National Park Lodges, hosted a public event at the Old Faithful Inn with remarks from NPS and partner representatives, free Historic Yellow Bus tours and a Native American Art Exhibition and Marketplace. Flags representing Yellowstone’s 27 associated Tribal Nations were raised atop the Old Faithful Inn at this event and will continue through September.

May: 15th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

The conference, hosted by Montana State University, brought together researchers and practitioners from academia, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and Tribal communities to discuss scientific findings and management needs associated with the Greater Yellowstone region.

May: University of Wyoming’s 150th Anniversary of Yellowstone Symposium

The symposium, hosted by the University of Wyoming’s College of Law and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, brought together state and federal agencies, academics, scholars, scientists and Native American Tribes to explore the goals, successes and shortcomings of Yellowstone National Park over the past 150 years and look to the future to examine key issues the park now faces.

June: Wind River Inter-Tribal In-Person Gathering

The Wind River Inter-Tribal Gathering brought together Tribal Nations, federal managers, non-governmental organizations and others to discuss conservation, current issues of importance to Tribal Nations and the future of consultation and collaboration.

July: Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club Ride and Parade

Members of the Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club and Yellowstone staff rode sections of the Nez Perce Trail in the park. Members also coordinated a public horse parade in traditional regalia and presented about the history and culture of the NiMiiPuu (Nez Perce). This project was intended to connect Nez Perce youth and adults to the trail, their history and ancestors and share this information and experience with Yellowstone employees and visitors.

Commemorate 150 Years of Yellowstone

Visit go.nps.gov/Yellowstone150 and follow #Yellowstone150 frequently in 2022 to stay current on commemoration information.

Current Contests

News For You