Native Americans
Things to See & Do in Montana
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis & William Clark began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues,and a dog. They departed from Camp Wood located in what was to become Illinois. They traveled over a three-year period through lands that later became 11 states. Most of the trail follows the Missouri & Columbia Rivers. Much has changed in 200 years but trail portions remain intact. At 3700 miles, Lewis & Clark NHT is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic & National Historic Trails. It begins at Hartford, IL & passes through portions of MO, KS, IA, NE, SD, ND, MT, ID, OR, & WA. Many people follow the trail by auto; others find adventure in the sections that encourage boating, biking, or hiking. You can still see the White Cliffs in Montana as Lewis & Clark did. You may stand where they stood looking over the rolling plains at Spirit Mound in South Dakota. You might meet the descendants of the people who hosted Lewis & Clark all along the trail. It remains for your discovery.
Western Heritage Center
The Western Heritage Center is a regional museum that interprets and reflects the life and culture of the Yellowstone River Valley. Located in downtown Billings in the former Parmly Billings Library, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Western Heritage Center cares for a collection of over 16,000 artifacts, including over 1,000 photographs that document the social history, architecture, public events and the development of the Yellowstone River Valley. Recent oral history projects have focused on interviews with elderly Yellowstone River Valley residents about farming and ranching activities, Crow and Northern Cheyenne women and Deaconess Billings Clinic personnel. This research will be used for future exhibits and publications. Scholars and students of history from throughout the United States have researched our archives and collection. The Western Heritage Press publishes material relating to the Yellowstone River Valley, including books, pamphlets and a guide to historic sites.
Nez Perce National Historical Park
The 38 sites of Nez Perce National Historical Park are scattered across the states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana and have been designated to commemorate the stories and history of the Nimiipuu and their interaction with explorers, fur traders, missionaries, soldiers, settlers, gold miners, and farmers who moved through or into the area.
Peter Yegen, Jr. Yellowstone County Museum
The Peter Yegen, Jr. Yellowstone County Museum in Billings collects, preserves, researches, and interprets the natural history and diverse cultures fo the Yellowstone Valley of Montana and the Northern Plains. The museum focuses on the prehistory of the plains through the 1950's. Exhibits include materials specific to ten Northern Plains Indian Tribes, western expansion, mining, cattle/sheep herding industries, transportation industries, military (1870-1950's), various medical fields, music, textiles, household goods and personal goods.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
On a scorching June Sunday in 1876, thousands of Indian warriors converged on a grassy ridge rising above the valley of Montana's Little Bighorn River. On the ridge five companies of United States cavalry,including officers and troopers, fought desperately but hopelessly against many times their number. When the guns fell silent and the smoke and dust of battle lifted, no soldier survived. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument memorializes the epic Battle of the Little Bighorn fought on June 25-26, 1876. Here in the valley of the Little Bighorn, Lt Col. George Armstrong Custer and 262 soldiers and attached personel of the 7th Cavalry, guided by Crow and Arikara scouts, met defeat and death by an overwhelming force of over 1,500 Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors.
Big Hole National Battlefield
Big Hole National Battlefield is a memorial to the people who fought and died here on August 9 and 10, 1877; combatants in a five month conflict that came to be called the Nez Perce War of 1877. Like other Indian Wars in the late 1800's, the Nez Perce War involved two very different groups with very different outlooks on land rights, civilian authority, government powers, social organization, and the responsibilities of the individuals to society.
Featured Resources

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