instructors from Stone Child College will visit museums, libraries
and scholars in Canada and the United States this summer to collect
historical information about the Cree people.
Crees were one of two peoples that combined to form the Chippewa
Cree Tribe. The tribe's government is located on Rocky Boy's Indian
Reservation, which was created in 1916.
by two federal grants, the instructors are hoping to learn more
about Cree history from written documents, pictures, newspaper articles,
songs and oral history.
don't know what all we're going to get ourselves into, but hopefully
whatever we can get a hold of," said Robert Murie, an instructor
of Native American history at Stone Child College. Murie said he
and Matt Herman, an instructor in the college's liberal arts program,
will probably take a two-week road trip in June to collect the materials.
said the decision to look for Cree materials first, rather than
Chippewa, was in part because Cree is the dominant language on the
reservation, and also because historical information about the Cree
is scarce at Rocky Boy.
hardly any Cree history here on the reservation. Hopefully there'll
be (a project) for the Chippewa too, because we want our children
to know about both," Murie said, adding that if they come across
pieces of Chippewa history, they'll try to bring that home as well.
said he is not an expert on tribal history, but his understanding
is that today's tribe was composed of multiple groups migrating
at different times.
do it justice, you have to study those things separately, but then
together too. We just felt that it was going to be a start,"
addition to looking for written and visual materials, Herman said
he and Murie plan to conduct oral history interviews with elders
living on the reservation as well as those living in Canada along
the path the Southern Cree once took to come to Montana.
people stretched all along that route ... that would have a lot
of things to contribute to their history," Herman said, adding
that he would like to videotape the interviews, and possibly make
a documentary of the trip.
said he would also like to look at the archives of newspapers around
the state to trace the path of the Cree and Chippewa in Montana
before they settled at Rocky Boy.
people wandered all around Montana for years, from what I understand,
before they were located here," Herman said. "We wanted
to try to gather as many newspaper accounts as possible from the
early part of the 20th century."
trip, funded by two $25,000 grants from the National Endowment for
the Humanities, will probably start in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,
they will visit history scholars at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated
College who have accumulated a lot of information about Cree history,
they hope to visit the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, as well as a museum
in Edmonton, Alberta, the Montana Historical Society in Helena,
and the Newberry Library in Chicago, Murie said.
said the library is "the foremost Indian library in the country."
trip will take some planning this spring.
going to be calling them and then making arrangements," Murie
said. "I don't know how long it will take us to collect this
documentation. Hopefully at least one or two days each (place),"
said they hope to make copies of pictures and documents the museums
have, and then archive them on the reservation.
goal of the project is to help the college develop its history curriculum,
Herman said. The college offers some history courses, he said, but
not very often. The historical materials would provide more information
that could be incorporated into the curriculum.
felt it was important to try to get the history of the people a
more prominent place in the curriculum," Herman said.
the materials this summer will only be the first half of the project,
Herman said. In the summer of 2005, they will use the information
they gathered to begin developing exhibits and curricula.
is exciting, and I think it's real important," Herman said.
"And I hope we're able to increase the interest in this area,
and that it can be the beginning of something pretty good for the
college and the community."