Culture Camp organizer Terry Tatsey is seen presenting a travois building demonstration at last year’s camp, along with Eldon Spoonhunter. This year’s camp promises to be even more interesting and educational in the Blackfeet people’s traditional homeland.

The second annual Sah Ko Mii Tah Pii (Land and All Things Living Together) Blackfeet cultural camp is planned for Aug. 8-11 at the Pondera County campground at Swift Dam. The community is invited to attend. The camp will share and celebrate Blackfeet connections to this landscape, as well as provide participants an Ampskapii Pikunii perspective on their relationship and responsibilities to the land. 

The camp is free and open to both tribal members and non-tribal members, with a special invitation to youth and elders.

“The camp is intended as a safe and fun way for people, especially our youth, to experience being in the mountains, as well as to learn about our traditions and responsibilities from elders and other community members,” said Terry Tatsey, the principal organizer of this year’s camp. “It’s so important that our young people learn our cultural practices and relationship to these mountains so that our connection as Blackfeet people to this landscape continues.”

Traditional dancing and drumming, storytelling by elders, introductions on backcountry travel by horse and foot, trail rides and traditional games will be features of the camp along with plenty of time for participants to just hangout at camp and relax or go fishing or hiking. 

Event details

The camp begins Monday afternoon, Aug. 8 with camp set-up. Tuesday is a youth focused day, but open to all. The day begins at 9 a.m. with introductions to backcountry hiking, horse packing, camping, Blackfeet horse culture and bear safety. Participants will have options to go on a trail ride or hike in the afternoon with campfire storytelling after dinner. Participants who want to trail ride should bring their own horse, as horses will not be provided. Pasture, water and a corral are available.

The camp continues Wednesday, Aug. 10 with participants free to hike, ride horses, fish, play games or just hang out at camp during the day. Traditional dancing and drumming will take place after dinner, followed by more storytelling around the campfire. Any elder who wishes to share a story is encouraged to do so.

The camp concludes Thursday morning with breakfast and reflections. 

People are invited to come for however much time they desire. 

Camping is available free of charge at the Pondera County Park at Swift Dam. Camping is primitive with vault toilets and no electricity or hook-ups. Participants must provide their own camping equipment. 

All meals are provided. Absolutely no alcohol or drugs are allowed. Organizers request that youth be accompanied by an adult. Participants assume their own liability, as camp sponsors are not responsible for any accidents. Non-tribal members should purchase a tribal conservation permit and fishing license (if they want to fish) from Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department. 

This year’s camp is made possible with generous support from the Pikuni Lodge Health Institute, Foundation for Community Vitality, Heart Butte Public Schools, The Nature Conservancy, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, The Wilderness Society, National Parks Conservation Association and Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance.

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