Orlan Svingen
Orlan Svingen

Dancing, drumming and the renaming of a Virginia City, Mont., public park on July 18 honored an important person in the region’s history and marked the start of a public history and education project at WSU.

Dedication of Tendoy Park, previously North Park, honors Chief Tendoy, a relative of Sacajawea and Cameahwait, who led a local mixed band of Shoshone, Sheepeater and Bannock Indians 1863-1907. Tendoy was known for working peacefully with early white settlers and skillfully negotiating with the U.S. government through turbulent times.

The day of free, public events included a prayer service, pow-wow, feast of salmon and buffalo meat and exhibitions of traditional Native American dress, drumming and dancing. A panel of southwestern Montana residents discussed the history of Shoshone, Bannock and Sheepeater people in the Three Forks region.

Renaming of the park in Tendoy’s honor launched a four-year outreach project that connects the public history program at WSU with ongoing historical and cultural interpretive work by Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and government organizations.

The John and Janet Creighton Public History Project (JJCPH)—an extension of WSU history professor Orlan Svingen’s research and teaching agenda—will provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities for WSU undergraduate and graduate students interested in American Indian history and culture.

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