Fort Peck Builds History Website

Aug 15th, 1997 | By | Category: 9-2: Re-envisioning Indian Education, Tribal College News

A computer applications instructor at Fort Peck Community College in Montana recently teamed up with a tribal elder to create an innovative web page on tribal history. Roxann Bighorn, the instructor; James Turning Bear, the elder, and Irvin Rising Sun traveled to Montana State University on a fellowship to learn how to do HTML programing (the coding used for web pages on the Internet). Funding in part was provided by a National Telecommunications and Information Administration grant.

Using resources collected by Turning Bear and by the Fort Peck Tribal archives, they built a tribal history page that incorporates both oral history and written sources, including some information that had been only handwritten before ( The page includes a map of historic bison range, a map of battles, Sisseton and Wahpeton enrollment rolls, a roster of Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendents at Fort Peck, a timeline, and notes from interviews about the local impact of the federal government’s prohibition on Indian dancing.

Bighorn (Assiniboine-Sisseton Yankton Sioux) has a masters in Computers in Education from Lesley College. She is a graduate of Fort Peck Community College. She refers to Turning Bear as a “medicine bundle.” While he didn’t understand the technology, he found it very intriguing, she says. Their long term goal is to build a multi-media CD-ROM on the history of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes and their languages. She plans to teach her students how to build pages, too.

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