The Day That Finally Came
American Prairie is pleased to announce it will host Métis storyteller, Montana author, and Little Shell Tribe of the Chippewa Indians member Chris La Tray for an in-person event at its National Discovery Center in Lewistown on September 1, 2022 from 6 to 8pm.
In partnership with Humanities Montana, this FREE event is open to the public and will be held at the American Prairie National Discovery Center at 302 W. Main Street in Lewistown. A reception and “meet and greet,” along with a book-signing, will follow La Tray’s presentation. Guests may also view the National Discovery Center’s exhibit space prior to and following the program.
La tray’s emotionally-charged presentation, entitled “The Day That Finally Came” draws on 150 years of history to tell the story of how the Little Shell became the 574th tribe to be recognized by the United States government in 2019. With more than 6,000 enrolled members, the Little Shell is connected to all area Anishinaabe tribes, including the Chippewa, Cree, and Assiniboine people, and, particularly, the Métis, or mixed-race.
La Tray draws on stories from historians like the late Nicholas Vrooman and Verne Dusenberry to reveal the larger reality behind the “Little Shell” name, including how conflict with the U.S. government led to the fracture and spreading out of what were once tight, family-based bands, their members often finding refuge on other reservations and marrying into other Montana tribes, like the Blackfeet and Salish people.
The Little Shell is now headquartered in Great Falls, and this presentation helps people better understand who the tribe’s members are, as well as their important role in the history of Central Montana and North America.
La Tray’s presentation coincides with the start of the Metis Celebration and Powwow in Lewistown, which runs from September 1-4 at the Fergus County Fairgrounds.
American Prairie National Discovery Center
Like many large-scale parks and protected natural areas across the globe, American Prairie now has a central gathering place for visitors from around the world. That place is called the National Discovery Center, and it is located in Lewistown, Montana, within a short drive to the prairie. The Center is open to the public and eventually will host local, regional, and national activities and programs that stir visitors to love and want to preserve the prairie and all of its inhabitants.