For the sixteenth year, 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. Aaliyah Blackwolf, Jonea Braine (Cheyenne), Marita Foote, Breylon Plainfeather, Akyla Red Bird, and Shayne Wolfblack examined objects and learned practical museum procedures. The student’s visit consisted of two days of intense lessons, tours, and activities with Center staff from the curatorial departments, collections management, exhibit production, registration, and conservation. Using information learned in class, the students selected and researched the objects for this case, mounted them on exhibition mounts, and wrote all the labels. The students are excellent representatives of the Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Chippewa Cree, and Navajo Nations.
The Plains Indian Museum staff were deeply impressed by the students’ interpretations of moccasins, pouches, knife cases, and natal amulets. We want to thank the students for sharing their thoughts. We appreciate St. Labre Schools for supporting the students’ time and travel for the museum studies and beadwork class field trip. Their exhibition case can be viewed through Spring 2023 at the entrance of the Plains Indian Museum.
“During the two days of the trip were amazing. All around the museum was amazing. The artifacts, displays, and scenery were a great sight, especially around the Plains Indian exhibit. I felt like I had reconnected to my history and ancestors right then and there. The staff working at the museum were so nice, and each job they had was interesting and amazing to learn about.” Akyla Red Bird (Cheyenne/ Sioux/ Arapaho)
“My experience at the Cody, Wy museum was splendid. Seeing how they set up their display stands. Seeing the vaults was great; we got to pick out which items go into an exhibit for the St. Labre students. It was also another great experience to learn how they preserve and restore damaged artifacts for the museum. Exploring the other parts of the museum was a delight, although I mostly explored the firearms museum and the Whitney western art museum. The firearms and art museum were quite delightful, and I hope to explore more of the museums. The staff at the Center of the West museum were friendly and nice to talk to, and they were helpful and informative.” Breylon Plainfeather (Crow)
“My experience at the Cody, Wy museum was awesome. It was cool to see how they display and make mounds for the objects and many other things. It was amazing to see the vaults and other things in the building but not only going under the museums, but the museums itself was amazing. It was also interesting to see Isham, a Red-Tailed Hawk, and learn about him. They have all sorts of activities, especially their scavenger hunts. There were three other girls I was doing a scavenger hunt with, and it was fun. I saw excitement whenever we saw something on the scavenger hunt where we found it and especially finishing it. Everything we saw on the displays in each museum was quite interesting. I especially liked the Cody Firearms Museums, and I didn’t quite see all of the Draper Natural History Museums, but I liked that one too. Overall, the museums were incredible and the people too. The people were nice and helpful around the museums and welcoming.” Aaliyah Blackwolf (Cheyenne/ Navajo)
“I enjoyed my time at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. I learned a lot. A great example would be the behind-the-scenes workshops. I had a first-hand approach to setting up an exhibit. The staff was very professional and was always for us. Fantastic experience!” Shayne Wolfblack (Cheyenne/ Chippewa Cree)
“The Cody Museum was amazing, especially being able to go behind the scenes and getting a crash course on museum work:
- Choosing the artifacts.
- Prepping them to be moved to a different vault for mounting.
- Deciding how to mount each individual artifact to complement the other.
The ability to handle those artifacts and take them through this whole process was really cool. We got a mini tour of the different underground halls connecting all the different parts of the museum, and thinking about how all of that was going on behind the scenes was really cool. Exploring and doing the scavenger hunts was really fun for us.” Marita Foote (Cheyenne)
“I found the trip to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West to be a rich and rewarding experience. The assistant curator, Hunter Old Elk, provided our students a hands-on experience in working with artifacts that are precious to them and their tribes. This is a gifted and talented experience that provides enrichment to our students, which is invaluable. Thank you to the staff and elders who invested in our student’s education.” Leland Stocker, Director of Schools, St. Labre Indian Catholic Schools
A special thanks to the following staff: Heather Bender, Indian Education for All Specialist; Jordan Davis, Director of Operations; Rebekah Childers, Senior Registrar; Beverly Perkins, Chief Conservator; Dr. Ashlea Espinel, Curatorial Assistant of the Whitney Western Art Museum; Amy Phillips, Curatorial Assistant of the Draper Natural History Museum, Hunter Old Elk, Assistant Curator of the Plains Indian Museum, Brandon Lewis, Live Raptor Program Assistant Manager, and finally Avian Ambassador Isham, Red-Tailed Hawk.