Peets Hill teepees inspire reflection and education on Indigenous Peoples Day – Explore Big Sky

By Tucker Harris EBS STAFF

BOZEMAN – At the top of Peets Hill tonight in Bozeman, seven illuminated tipis will glow in an assortment of colors through the gently falling October snow. The tipis are an evocation; an opportunity to reflect and learn more about the indigenous history of the region.

The art light fixture was installed on October 8 and is a collaboration between Mountain Time Arts, the Pretty Shield Foundation, the Town of Bozeman and the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council to honor Indigenous Peoples Day, which this year falls on the 11th. October.

More than 20 states across the country now recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day rather than or in addition to recognizing Columbus Day. Although Montana is not one of those states, Bozeman adopted Indigenous Peoples Day as an alternative to Columbus Day in 2016 under the leadership of Mayor Carson Taylor.

Settled in the ancestral lands of the Salish Bitterroot, Pend d’Oreille, Kootenai, Blackfeet, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Chippewa Cree, Assiniboine, Gros Ventre, Dakota, among other indigenous nations, the art installation acts “like a mixture of art. and culture… that makes us stop and take a break and think about the Indigenous peoples who first lived on this land, ”said MaryBeth Morand, Co-Executive Director of Mountain Time Arts.

Tipis lined up and ready to be lit on October 10th. PHOTO BY MIRA BRODY

“That’s the beauty of art,” Morand said. “It’s going to touch people’s souls in different ways.” She added that like most works of art, teepees are meant to be interpreted. “These teepees are so powerful,” she said. The illuminated teepee dynamic display will function as a non-threatening way to remind and educate city residents about the embedded Indigenous footprint in the land now known as the Bozeman, Morand said.

The tipi operates in accordance with Mountain Time Arts’ mission: to educate residents and visitors to Bozeman through art by inviting them to think about who they invite to the table – and who they exclude – when discussing issues. social and growth. The purpose of this installation, according to Morand, is to illuminate the presence of the region’s original Indigenous residents and prevent a further erasure of their cultures and history as Bozeman continues to grow rapidly.

Tonight, the tipis will be lit for the fourth time. A list of Bozeman executives will speak at tonight’s 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. illumination on Peet’s Hill. Among them, the mayor of Bozeman, Cyndy Andrus, will talk about both the holidays and the land. Teepees will continue to be lit all week every evening after dark.

One of the goals of the art exhibit, according to Morand, is to appeal to the state of Montana to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day statewide. And for the public, she says it’s an opportunity. “To me, the teepees and the illumination of Indigenous Peoples Day will make viewers pause and say, ‘Who are we truly grateful to for this beautiful place we live in? Who really preserved and managed this landscape for thousands of years before us? “


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