“History is extremely important in my culture and because of that, it is extremely important to me. This trip helped broaden my knowledge of not only my tribe but lots of the surrounding tribes as well.”-Miah Chalfant
In the fourteenth fall, the Plains Indian Museum hosted high school students, tribal elders, and instructors from St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana. The student’s fall visit is part of a collaborative program between St. Labre Indian Schools and the Plains Indian Museum. Miah Chalfant (Northern Cheyenne), Kinahlei Armajo (Crow and Northern Arapaho), Chitat Killsback (Northern Cheyenne and Sioux), and Naveah Hart (Northern Cheyenne) examined objects and learned practical museum procedures. Their visit consisted of two days of intensive lessons with Center staff of the curatorial departments, collections management, exhibit production, registration, and Wyoming Public Radio. The students also received special tours and played games with Jordan Davis and Rebekah Childers of Museum Services; Corey Anco of the Draper Museum of Natural History; Melissa Hill and Brandon Lewis of the Draper Museum Raptor Experience; and Nicole Harrison of the Whitney Western Art Museum. The students were excellent representatives of the Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Northern Arapaho, and Sioux Nations.
“The Buffalo Bill Center of the West trip provided opportunities and information to us in the two days we were there. We explored the Plains Indian Museum’s archives and learned all of the different tricks and trades to running a museum. We had great instructors in each workshop that clearly explained what part they played in the making of a museum. I thought the vaults were the most influential to me because some of those items were more than likely worn by an ancestor of mine which seems so crazy to me. History is extremely important in my culture and because of that, it is extremely important to me. This trip helped broaden my knowledge of not only my tribe but lots of the surrounding tribes as well.” -Miah Chalfant (Northern Cheyenne)
“I thought the trip was a great learning experience. I learned so much from all the staff members we met. Their presentations and games were fun but still educational. I learned more about the different job opportunities in a museum career. My favorite part of the presentations was seeing the raptors and being in the vaults. We got to see a lot of incredible beadwork and clothing. My favorite part of the Center was the Plains Indian Museum because I got to see some of my tribe’s beadwork.” -Kinahlei Armajo (Crow / Arapaho)
“The trip to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West was a great learning experience. We were able to expand our knowledge on Plains Indian tribes. The staff at the museum were very nice and generous. They helped us throughout the museum and through the different exhibits. The Center was also generous enough to let us make our own display in the Plains Indian Museum.” -Chitat Killsback (Northern Cheyenne / Sioux)
“The trip to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West was fascinating to me. I learned a lot of new things like what a curator is and what they do. I had a lot of fun exploring the museums and seeing what they all had in them. I also had fun seeing the raptors which I was looking forward to that since the first day we got there. I also learned that you can’t just handle an object anyway. You have to handle it properly so it doesn’t fall apart. The staff there were really nice and helpful, especially Hunter. I really enjoyed hanging out and getting to know her better both days. Honestly, I can’t wait to go back next year!” -Nevaeh Hart (Northern Cheyenne)
The Plains Indian Museum staff were deeply impressed by the students’ interpretations of moccasins, dolls, flutes, gauntlets, and other materials. The student’s case will be on display through the 2017 summer. Advisors Phillipe Franquelin and Cecelia Thex interviewed with Wyoming Public Radio Correspondent Kamila Kudelska here.
We’d like to thank the students for sharing their thoughts, and extend our appreciation to the St. Labre School for supporting the students’ time and travel for the museum studies and beadwork class field trip. Their exhibition case can be viewed through March 2019 in the entrance of the Plains Indian Museum.