Stone Child Recoups Chippewa-Cree HistoryNov 15th, 2006 | By tcj | Category: 18-2: Traditional Wisdom Our Strength, Tribal College News
Putting the “tribal” into tribal history is the focus of current efforts at Stone Child College (SCC, Box Elder, MT). With a one-time-only appropriation from the Montana Legislature, the Rocky Boy Tribal History Project began work in the fall of 2005 to produce materials that would help teach Chippewa-Cree history to Montana’s public school children.
Now in its second and last year, the Rocky Boy Tribal History Project is already significantly amplifying the Chippewa Cree tribal voice in matters of history and culture.
From the start, the project sought total community involvement. Last fall, tribal elders, community members, SCC students, and college faculty and staff took part in unprecedented community gatherings to establish the direction and priorities of the project.
The gatherings featured a keynote presentation by historian and photographer Celeste River, who spoke on writer and ethnographer Frank Linderman and the formation of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation.
The Western Heritage Center’s American Indian Tribal Histories Project is training SCC personnel in oral history interviewing techniques and in digital video production. This collaboration will help the college move one step closer to becoming a research institution better able to serve the intellectual and cultural needs of the community.
Last summer, the Rocky Boy Tribal History Project hosted a cultural forum on Verne Dusenberry‘s The Montana Cree: A Study in Religious Persistence. Offered for college credit but also open to the general public, this event featured a panel of elders discussing the history and relevance of Dusenberry’s work, one of the very few book-length studies ever conducted on Chippewa-Cree culture.
Because of the forum’s overwhelming success, the Rocky Boy Tribal History Project planned to launch a cultural forum series during fall semester addressing specific topics on Chippewa-Cree history, culture, politics, and society.
College staff members hope to continue the momentum their project has generated toward greater community involvement in the academic affairs of SCC.