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Coyote Camp Connects Youth To Tribal Cultures, Battlefield History

Big Hole National Battlefield

National Park News

Despite frequent snow squalls, almost 1,000 children from Montana and Idaho schools attended Coyote Camp at Big Hole National Battlefield in the last full week in May. During this five-day program, tribal cultural demonstrators from the Nez Perce and Umatilla reservations explained parts of their culture and shared hands-on activities. 

With as many as 200 students arriving daily, park staff divided the students into eight smaller groups for 30-minute battlefield tours and cultural demonstrations that took place in the park’s housing area. The kids rotated from station to station, with a half-day spent on the battlefield and a half-day witnessing cultural demonstrations.

Students, teachers, and staff made the best of bad weather to increase understanding of two ancient cultures: the Nez Perce and Cayuse. For most participants, this program provided a first-time interaction with the Nez Perce and Cayuse peoples.  Teachers thanked staff repeatedly for the program.    

Coyote Camp was born out of necessity – to provide visitor information while the park’s Visitor Center closed for almost a year’s worth of renovations. This year’s program was a huge endeavor with every employee of the park working together to make it happen, including the park’s three newest employees who arrived for work just one week earlier.


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