Program Details

Community service and outdoor adventure program for teens ages 14 to 18 based on the expansive plains of southeastern Montana.
Location:
Lame Deer, United States
Program Type:
Volunteer Abroad
Degree Level:
High School
Work Types:
Animals, Children, Construction, Economic Development, Education, Environment
Duration:
1-2 weeks

Program Overview

Program Description:

Learn the storied history of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, who live amid the big skies and vast prairies of southeastern Montana. Help tackle the challenges of contemporary reservation life by making hands-on renovations to homes and schools, leading a daycamp for children and serving meals to elders. Experience a traditional powwow, tour the Little Bighorn Battlefield and witness the through line connecting distant past to present.

The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation was established in 1884, just eight years after the tribe joined the Lakota to fight the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army in the Battle of Little Bighorn (aka Custer’s Last Stand). Now a small, close-knit community based in Lame Deer, the residents struggle with issues that plague many reservations: a lack of adequate housing, sparse social resources and high poverty rates. VISIONS volunteers have worked with Cheyenne tribal members for nearly 30 years, learning the ways of the elders while making meaningful contributions. Your impact will be felt across the generations, from helping to educate children in the Kids Kollege summer program to serving meals to elders at the Shoulder Blade senior center. You’ll also do hands-on construction and renovation work, building wheelchair ramps, picnic tables and garden beds, improving insulation and making repairs. In the process, the people you meet will change the way you see the world.

When VISIONS began working with the Northern Cheyenne people in 1991, we received a welcoming blessing from Florence Running Wolf (see Spotlight) and the Tribal Council. Since then, we’ve grown deep roots in this community. While Native Americans living on reservations can be understandably slow to embrace outsiders, the trust we’ve built helps volunteers connect closely with locals. Based in the small town of Lame Deer (two hours east of Billings), teens will get to know the Cheyenne in ways they never could from history books. You’ll be invited to activities that few non-tribal members are privy to, such as a powwow, sweat lodge, drum circles, family meals and a visit to the tribal buffalo herd. You’ll play games with local kids, learn traditional beading and fry bread-making, hear ages-old stories in the native tongue and tales of contemporary life. Our service here is a way of thanking the Cheyenne for opening their lives and homeland to us.

Cost:
3,850 USD.

Additional Program Information

Requirements:
Program for teens ages 14 to 18.

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