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Billings Western Heritage Center features traveling Crow exhibit

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Posted at 6:50 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 11:30:52-04

BILLINGS — "Parading Through History: The Absaalooke Nation" is a traveling exhibit now being featured at the Billings Western Heritage Center. It shares the stories of the Crow Tribe from the perspective of the Crow people.

The Western Heritage Center manages the largest traveling exhibit program in the state of Montana.

“In the exhibit, you’ll see information about the history of the people, about their transition from a plains culture onto the reservation,” said Lauren Hunley, the community historian of the Western Heritage Center.

It features the thoughts of historic Crow leaders, artifacts, and contemporary information on who the Crow Tribe is today.

“This was made more recently and is shown off and highlighted through parading,” Hunley said.

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This contemporary leather and beaded lance case is one of many artifacts folks can check out.

“The exhibit includes information for women, for men, history information, information about childhood so it’s really a great snapshot of an entire culture,” said Hunley.

Banners that capture the history of the Crow people are also interspersed throughout the exhibit.

“We also have Chief Plenty Coups life mask that was originally cast by the Smithsonian Institution in the 1880s,” said Hunley.

Hunley said the Crow people are incredibly proud of their identities as warriors.

“So many of them have continued to serve in the U.S. military,” Hunley said.

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Patrons can listen to the Crow language through documented oral history.

“We’ve chosen to play a portion of Winona Plenty Hoops' oral history. And actually she gave the interview in Crow,” said Hunley.

Part of the American Tribal History’s project, it was one of the first times Native people received federal funding to collect and document their oral history.

Visitors can also play a powwow drum when visiting the exhibit. Parading Through History is open until October.

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“So this is really allowing them the opportunity to learn more and understand more about this really fascinating and amazing people,” Hunley said.

Tickets to visit the Western Heritage Center are only $5 dollars for adults. Visit Home - Western Heritage Center (ywhc.org) for more information.