Extreme History Projects tells the Tales of Ft. Parker

Grant Bulltail tells the stories of Ft Parker era

16 April 2012 SHELLEY BLUEJAY PIERCE, Native Times Special Contributor


BILLINGS, Mont. – The Extreme History Project, based in Livingston, was on location this past week for filming and recording of oral histories for their Ft. Parker Oral History Project. The interviews, given by several elder members of the Crow tribe, detail the early reservation period during the 1868 to 1884 time frames and seek to preserve the wealth of information available from members of the community.

Filming took place at the Little Big Horn College, Crow Agency Montana, and in private residences where Marvin Stewart, Grant Bulltail, Mardell Plainfeather, Stan Stevens, and Walter Pease, all descendants of the early Indian agencies, recounted their own family history. The interviews were conducted by Marsha Fulton and Crystal Alegria of the Extreme History Project and were filmed and recorded by Adam Sings in the Timber of Sings in the Timber Photography.

The project, funded by The Montana Department of Transportation, and in partnership with Project Archaeology, will supply transcriptions as well as DVD’s of interviews to several institutions throughout Montana and be made available to the public. They will also become a part of the digital archive which The Extreme History Project is creating on their website.

“We were so fortunate to be able to connect with some of the descendants of people associated with both the first and second agencies,” states Marsha Fulton, co-director of the Extreme History Project.

“They very generously gave us their time and stories that have been passed down through their families. We learned so much more about these people and this time period which will fill in the history we have previously uncovered from documents and letters,” continued Fulton.

The first two Crow agencies, Fort Parker, located just outside of Livingston (a.k.a. the Mission Agency) and the second agency near Absarokee, served as the two initial locations for the tribe prior to the final move to their current location in southeast Montana near Billings. Fort Parker, the very first Crow Indian agency, was established by the Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Crow lost millions of acres of territory with the establishment of each of these agencies.

Crystal Alegria, co-director of the Extreme History Project explained, “These stories have much to tell us about the Indian perspective of this period which has long been un-documented. We believe that bringing this story to light can have real value in bringing communities together here in Montana, and across the country.”

The Extreme History Project is a public history organization which seeks ways of using history to build bridges between communities. The current oral history project will bring the surviving historical stories from both Native and non-Native community members in order to honor both sides of a conflicting time in U.S. history.

Alegria also noted that, “We feel it is so important for the general public to have easy and ready access to this information for research, opportunities and education.”

The Extreme History Project has been studying the history surrounding the site at Fort Parker in preparation for the oral history project, their book, documentary and community education programs. The organization strives to make history relevant for the community while finding new and innovative ways to experience the events that shaped the present.

For more information on The Extreme History Project, visit http://extremehistory.wordpress.com/

The Extreme History Project Says NO to “Diggers: Montana Juice” After TV Producers Break State Laws

Attention All-  this press release, below, was sent worldwide and is now being picked up in the media and in professional circles. I will continue to update the top of this page with links to the GREAT folks out there that have taken this info. and run with it! Our biggest thanks to Brett French at The Billings Gazette for being the first journalist to dive into the facts from the press release and run with it!

Brett’s article here: “Diggers” TV show strikes nerve


also appears on: http://mtstandard.com/news/state-and-regional/legality-haunts-diggers-tv-show/article_7ad4a33c-6e57-11e1-8ff5-0019bb2963f4.html

Collegiate Journal of Anthropology:
http://anthrojournal.com/issue/october-2011/article/archaeology-news-for-march-13-2012 (look down the page a bit and our title is there and it links back to the full article on Native Times)


The Extreme History Project Says NO to “Diggers: Montana Juice” After TV Producers Break State Laws 

LIVINGSTON, Montana– March 12, 2012- The Extreme History Project, based in Montana, rallied against National Geographic TV and its recent show, “Diggers: Montana Juice.” The episode, which was filmed at The Old Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana, has received a great deal of criticism from archaeologists and historical preservationists across the country. Now, after review of legal statutes, questions are raised as to whether the digging and filming were in fact illegal.

In a letter sent by the Montana State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to Diana Koch, Chief Legal Counsel for the Montana Department of Corrections, questions arise as to why the State of Montana, the Department of Corrections and other authorities were never contacted by National Geographic in advance of filming. The historic preservation leadership is demanding accountability from all parties for allowing access to the State-owned land for the National Geographic Channel filming crews to search out remains that had historical value.

Marsha Fulton, Co-Founder for The Extreme History Project explains, “It’s truly unfortunate that National Geographic, an organization that holds international respect and authoritative voice, has irresponsibly taken on a project for which it hasn’t done even the slightest due diligence to ensure that the work was not only ethical, but legal. This issue, though, offers an opportunity for organizations around the country to educate people on the importance of protecting our historical heritage.”

In question is the processes by which the National Geographic Channel moved forward with filming without fulfilling all required disclosures, permits, and gaining clearance to access the site that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The important historic site, the Old Territorial Prison, is owned by the State of Montana and is designated as a Heritage Property. Citing a violation of state statute, (MCA 22-3-432,-442) the Montana State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) reveals that National Geographic did not request the required State Antiquities Permit in advance.

The Montana SHPO is said to have received dozens of inquiries and expressions of concern regarding the TV show that aired February 28, 2012 on the National Geographic Channel. Online sites, including The Extreme History Project, http://extremehistory.wordpress.com/ have been laden with commentary about the potential destruction of valuable antiquities on public land.

“No one is bashing the general use of metal detectors in appropriate places. This is about television shows that are irresponsibly planned and promote the illegal destruction of important archaeological sites on public property. There are laws protecting these lands for a reason and that is to insure the preservation of our national heritage,” explained Marsha Fulton.

Joining The Extreme History Project in condemning these actions by National Geographic are organizations such as The Society of American Archaeologists, The Society of Historical Archaeology, National Association of State Archaeologists (NASA), The Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) and the Montana State Historical Preservation Office.

The Extreme History Project may be reached at: extremehistoryproject@yahoo.com

Or by visiting their website at: http://extremehistory.wordpress.com/


# # #

For Background information:

SHA letter http://www.sha.org/blog/index.php/2012/02/more-teaching-moments-national-geographic-televisions-diggers/

SAA letter http://saa.org/Portals/0/SAA/Press/Diggers.pdf

For more information, to request photos or to schedule interviews, please contact:
Shelley Bluejay Pierce
Thunderbird Public Relations

“Voices from the Field” – The Extreme History Project Full Calender!

The Extreme History Project- Lecture Series Launch This Thursday!

Click the link above to listen to Joanne Shenandoah, Grammy Award winning Native American musician, speaking about The Extreme History Project. Below is the announcement for their beautiful new Lecture Series!

“Partnering for Public History- The Extreme History Project and the Museum of the Rockies Offer a Unique Lecture Series.”

 LIVINGSTON, Montana– Feb. 2, 2012-  The Extreme History Project is partnering with the Museum of the Rockies and the Archaeological Conservancy to bring a series of free public lectures that offer new perspectives on history, anthropology and archaeology. The first in the series, “The Dawn of Montana Archaeology,” will be presented by Nancy Mahoney, Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Montana State University.  The lecture will take place on Feb 9, 2012 at 6 PM at the Museum of the Rockies, Hagar Auditorium in Bozeman.

Lecture topics in the series will include local archaeology, archaeo-astronomy, folklore and ritual in archaeological assemblages, American Indian music and environmental history as well as many others. The lectures will be held at both the Museum of the Rockies and the Community Room of the Livingston Public Library in Livingston.

This first lecture, “The Dawn of Montana Archaeology,” given by Nancy Mahoney, will discuss her research on the Joseph L. Cramer and Oscar T. Lewis Archaeological Collection located at the Museum of the Rockies. Containing archaeological materials from Montana and Wyoming made during the first half of the 20th century, the collection contains artifacts and documentation from some of most significant archaeological sites in Montana. Pictograph Cave, the Hagen Site, the Billings Bison Trap Site, as well as places of significance to the Crow Nation are included in the collection.

The March 29th lecture will be presented by Shane Doyle, Board Member for The Extreme History Project and PhD. Candidate in Education at MSU Bozeman.  As a Crow tribal member himself, Doyle will sing and share from his own traditional knowledge about the history and meaning in Native American Plains tribal music.  The lecture will be held at the Community Room of the Livingston Public Library in Livingston.

The April lecture will celebrate Archaeology Month and feature co-founders and directors of the Extreme History Project, Marsha Fulton and Crystal Alegria. The lecture, “Archaeology in the Archives- Ft. Parker and the Early Bozeman Economy,” will elaborate on the massive influence that Ft. Parker had upon the growth and early development of Bozeman. The event will be held at the Museum of the Rockies.  Details for this event and future lectures will be announced soon.

The Extreme History Project is a local public history organization that strives to bring cutting-edge research in the Sciences and Humanities to the general public by opening up dialogues surrounding their shared mutual histories. Bridging communities and revealing the true history results in the promotion of healing, tolerance and peace through a new public awareness of the past.

The Museum of the Rockies is the premier institution in the region for history, anthropology and the natural sciences. As well, the Archaeological Conservancy, whose significant work preserves and protects hundreds of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites all over the country, garners enormous respect. The Extreme History Project is proud to be in the distinguished company of these respected institutions.

For more information on the series, visit these websites or call the Museum of the Rockies at 994-2251

These organizations may be reached at:




The Extreme History Project wishes to thank Joanne Shenandoah for her beautiful PSA announcement, above, which will be used in promoting the year long lecture series!  Music from Joanne’s new CD, “Lifegivers” will be played before and after all the lecture series, with our thanks!

Visit Joanne’s site at: http://www.joanneshenandoah.com/index.html

and to purchase your very own new Lifegivers CD, visit:  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/joanneshenandoah

New CD by Joanne Shenandoah- Lifegivers

New CD by Joanne Shenandoah- Lifegivers

They Call Her ‘Songbird’-Behind the Scenes with Joanne Shenandoah

They Call Her ‘Songbird’-Behind the Scenes with Joanne Shenandoah

by Shelley Bluejay Pierce, Thunderbird Public Relations for Native American Times

A grandmother waved her over after a concert to tell her that the Inuit believe songs are carried over the ice from the Ancestors’ land by the birds.

“She called me a song bird and said that birds bring their songs to me. She could envision where my songs came from. They come from beautiful places,” explained Joanne Shenandoah.

In this interview with Native American Times, Joanne Shenandoah speaks to some of her personal and cultural history that’s guided her to becoming one of the most beloved and awarded Native recording artists in history. Here, she shares from her heart about what has motivated, inspired, and kept her focused on giving to the world community for many decades.

NAT- Your music draws on Native tradition and you sing in the Oneida language. Your words may be unfamiliar to some listeners, but the music has global approval.  What do you feel the reason for this is?

Joanne- The vibration of music touches the soul and hearts of people. Music has been called the ‘universal language’ and speaks to us all. While I was in Istanbul, the call to prayer was a constant reminder throughout the land, and affected me although I did not understand the words. Music in different languages is vibrations of sound that bring us to a place of celebration or enlightenment.

A great artist, A. Paul Ortega, a Mescalero Apache Medicine man, once told me that I should never refuse to sing, as my voice will bring people together in a place which may never be otherwise together because of my gift. This is what I aim to do through my music. I have received so many letters and emails from people around the globe whose lives are positively affected by my music. What a blessing!

NAT- You recently participated in a concert held in Bethlehem on Christmas, 2011 with Steve Robertson’s, “Project Peace on Earth” (http://www.projectpeaceonearth.org/) that served as a global, musical prayer for peace. This must have been a life-changing event for you as you performed live on Christmas Eve at Manger Square, directly in front of the Church of the Nativity and across from a Mosque.  On Christmas Day, you performed in the full “Project Peace on Earth” concert at the Bethlehem Convention Palace which is next to the famed Solomon Pools.  Bringing thousands of people together live, and tens of millions from every nation and faith through the full concert broadcast, is a powerful experience. How did this concert and visit to the region impact you?

Joanne- Several thousand people were at Manger Square on Christmas Eve day and it was a moving experience to sing and share the message of peace. I was blessed to gift the Iroquois Hiawatha Belt to the minister of Tourism and Women’s Affairs of Palestine, Dr. Khouloud Diabes. I told her this flag represented Hiawatha, one of our prophets of peace. At a special dinner held for our delegation, I was given opportunity to explain to her in detail about how our Peacemaker brought the message of peace to the Iroquois through forgiveness.

It was with sacred respect that I visited the birthplace of Jesus and the Garden of Gethsemane and was so moved to sing an Iroquois Women’s song with my daughter Leah in the church of Mary Magdalena in Jerusalem. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26usZUTvQXk)

Going to the Holy Land was an adventure that I never knew was in my future, but it affected me greatly. Since I’ve had a chance to sing and dance with the Aborigines in Australia, with the Buddhists and traditional people of Korea, chant and dance with African women in Cape Town, I have come to realize that each culture has their form of worship along with their prophets of peace.

NAT- What are your plans for 2012 and what priorities do you feel we need to place before us as a global and united human race?

Joanne- I believe that a lot of people live in fear of the future. 2012 represents a transition to many people and our prophecies tell us that we will continue to survive as human beings. The key to survival will be the ability to live within sustainable societies which secure balance between basic human resource needs and the rights of other species. The Iroquois have a constitutional obligation to do nothing that causes harm which qualifies the rights of the unborn to clean water, fertile land and clear skies. To achieve this, the Iroquois incorporate the rights of others- from the earth to water, insects, animals, plants and trees-all have legal standing which must be respected.

NAT- You have recently gone out on your own and taken creative control of your music. What benefits has that brought you as an artist?

Joanne- “Lifegivers” is my first independent recording from start to finish. Creative management of the actual recording allows me to have direct control in respect to the buyers and then reaching the fans that have purchased my recordings in the past. I am honored to have been involved with helping to bring about the first Native American Music Awards through Ellen Bello. I am much honored to hold 13 Nammys which is the most any Native artist has received to date. It is wonderful seeing so many artists involved now and many of them are independent.

NAT- I know that you care deeply about the women- their growth and positive movement forward and your newest CD, “Lifegivers” is a testament to your honoring the entire lifecycle that women evolve through. Tell us what motivated this recording?

Joanne- “Lifegivers” pays tribute to the life cycles of women and each song is meant to celebrate the cycle of life. It has been my great honor to be embraced by many women of the world! The Iroquois hold that every human being is a remarkable gift of life, experience and creativity from the spiritual world. Each being has specific abilities and talents which must be nurtured by the extended family. Communal stability and peace is realized when children are free to explore the world and apply their talents without coercion or qualification. I have written songs to my daughter Leah and to other women directly in respect to our love, peace, and the commitments we hold to our children by helping them realize their dreams.

Ever since my daughter Leah was born, I have been began singing to her. Now, she is a magnificent singer and has been blessed with a golden voice. Her first recording will be out this year. I am so very proud to be her mother. She is a Cum Laude Graduate of Syracuse University and has her Master’s Degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. (www.leahshenandoah.com)

NAT- What is your wish for future generations?

Joanne- My biggest wish is that all people will have clean air, water, and fertile land to grow their food, sing their songs and dance their dances. I hope that people awaken, stand up and be counted, and they will love their children so much that they will care for the earth and use their Creator-given gifts to do so. I will continue my efforts to bring music that lifts the spirit and heals the soul.

Purchase Joanne’s new CD “Lifegivers” at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/joanneshenandoah

Follow her home website at: http://www.joanneshenandoah.com/index.html

Originally from: http://www.nativetimes.com/life/people/6656-they-call-her-songbird-behind-the-scenes-with-joanne-shenandoah