Submitted by electricdresses t3_zcoh0n in history

I’ve recently become interested in the history of Yellowstone National Park and am curious to learn about Native American perspectives on the land and their earliest known associations with white/European trappers and explorers in the region.

In particular, I'd like to learn about any prominent Native American creation stories involving what is now Yellowstone NP, how various tribes historically used and valued the land (for hunting, lodging, etc.), and what their thoughts were on the geysers and the other geothermal activity in the area. From my cursory research on the subject, tons of tribes have ties to Yellowstone with some of the most prominent being the Shoshone, Blackfeet, and Crow. What are the earliest accounts of contact between these tribes (and/or others) and the white/European trappers and explorers such as John Colter, who were entering the region in the early 1800s?

PS ~ I made a similar post yesterday in the subreddit r/AskHistorians but it hasn't received any comments yet. I hope okay that I re-phrased my question for this subreddit.

In lieu of a response, if anyone can point me to any good books or other resources to help give me a better understanding of the Native American tribes indigenous to Yellowstone NP, their different perspectives on the land, and/or their early dynamic with white/European trappers and explorers in the region I'd very much appreciate it.



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keller892 t1_iyyfixb wrote

There are some stories that are briefly outlined here and here, but I cant immediately find a lot that represents Native peoples talking about their cultural view of geology themselves, as opposed to academics. The second link might be a jumping off point though.


Aoeletta t1_iz04c4y wrote

My gosh. The history we lost due to colonization is heartbreaking.


zpool_scrub_aquarium t1_iz0i1j3 wrote

Now that we are in the digital age we can utilize digital archives and websites to try to preserve, order, streamline and dig up as much of that history as possible.


LouQuacious t1_iz17jj9 wrote

Links degrading is a huge problem, try clicking on any 'source' from 2008 or earlier, most likely the link is broken now.


BWD1998 t1_iz0ov8d wrote

Is this a valid career path for people? I’m 25 and this is a huge passion for me, but I didn’t go to college for it or anything. But I do have a lot of knowledge on it. I’m wondering if I can turn it into a career


nothalfasclever t1_iz0u9hj wrote

You might need to get a degree if you want to do some of the most interesting archival work, since a lot of those are funded by the government and/or prominent universities. It's absolutely a valid career path, though, and it's a deeply important one.

Most universities that offer a Master's of Library Science will have courses in digitization & archive management. If that's not a plausible path for you, there might be other ways to get the connections & experience you need- it's certainly worth investigating.


banjo_hammer t1_iz1aewb wrote

This may seem obvious, but I would also add that these positions can be competitive, in the sense that there are more potential candidates than open jobs, so a degree would definitely be an advantage if not a requirement. Also, in my experience (mid-level universities), these jobs are sometimes grant-funded and project-based (read: only for a few years). Not all though, it depends on the institution.

I certainly don't want to be discouraging, but want to make sure folks know the potential entry barriers, which are sadly common in archival and library work.

Edit: It would be worth looking at potential jobs at historical societies and related non-profits to see what's out there and the qualifications needed


Thecinnamingirl t1_iz1erbe wrote

If you want to do more advanced work, yes, you would want to pursue a degree. However, it's pretty common for museums and historical societies to have roles for digitization assistants that doesn't require a degree, so if OP wanted to try it out first, that would be a good start. Also, you can find MLS programs that allow you to do coursework in related fields. For example, one of my cohort at Indiana University Bloomington focused on informatics, but she also did a bunch of courses in anthropology (IU has a big anthro program), because part of her interest was in digitization of indigenous/native music.


grandsatsuma t1_iz0pq2k wrote

If you can find someone to sponsor you then anything is a career path.


_Apatosaurus_ t1_iz0vr7z wrote

It's a niche career, but absolutely possible. I think the best place to start with something like this is to contact someone from a local museum or university and ask if you can do an informational interview to learn more about their career path. Let them know your interest and that you are considering going back to school (whether that's true or not, it's a good way to make it clear you are not asking for a job).


LouQuacious t1_iz17ttp wrote

There's internships in this, my wife did one for an oral history project gathering stories from survivors of India/Pakistan Partition.


growsomegarlic t1_iz116u4 wrote

When it comes to Native Americans, I think we've done enough "digging up".


Agente_Anaranjado t1_iz133xq wrote

Too much digging up, not enough sitting down and asking the people who (ahem) still exist today.


Retr0shock t1_iz13836 wrote

Honestly that depends on who you define as "we" and what tribal peoples you're referencing. Depending on tribe some want all the help they can get preserving cultural history, some want help in the form of funding or access to do it themselves (because some tribes don't have access to their own ancestral lands ffs), some would prefer no outside interference, and finally, a small number of tribes have actually expressed the preference for their history to fade with time. Respecting Indigenous sovereignty, while acknowledging the diversity of viewpoints is key.


growsomegarlic t1_iz18qu7 wrote

My perspective comes from visiting "Dixon Mounds" in Dixon, Illinois as a child, and then going back years later to see that they lost a lawsuit and were forced to fill it all back in, or at least take that off display.


ThoughtCondom t1_iz0bc74 wrote

Every colonizes everybody. I agree it is sad but these tribes would also war and wipeout each other. In Mexico The Olmecs were wiped out by the Toltecs, and the Aztecs wiped out the Toltecs and burned their libraries and every aspect of their culture to the ground.

Colonization is an inescapable part of all human history. It’s not just something that the white man did to the brown man, here in America


uberwachin t1_iz0uirq wrote

On the other side there's the spanish conquest being a viceroyalty that actually translated and made manuscript of the common tongues, myths and costumes of the indigenous people and gave them status of servers of the crown. Don't buy the black legend.


RailRuler t1_iz0whm8 wrote

The spanish destroyed way more than they preserved.


uberwachin t1_iz0zmaf wrote

The Spanish preserved way more than any other conquest. That's why 80 to 90 percent of the population in the Americas are indigenous descendants. What's the percentage in the places that used to be french or British colonies?


TheBlueSully t1_iz18oc5 wrote

Citation for the 80-90% of the americas?


uberwachin t1_iz1f91o wrote

there you go:


Mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 62%, predominantly Amerindian 21%, Amerindian 7%, other 10% (mostly European) (2012 est.)


Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and White) 60.2%, Amerindian 25.8%, White 5.9%, African descent 3.6%, other (includes Chinese and Japanese descent) 1.2%, unspecified 3.3% (2017 est.)


Mestizo (mixed White and Amerindian ancestry) 68%, Indigenous 20%, White 5%, Cholo/Chola 2%, African descent 1%, other 1%, unspecified 3%; 44% of respondents indicated feeling part of some indigenous group, predominantly Quechua or Aymara (2009 est.)


Mestizo and White 87.6%, Afro-Colombian (includes Mulatto, Raizal, and Palenquero) 6.8%, Amerindian 4.3%, unspecified 1.4% (2018 est.)


Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, African descent 2%, White 1%


Mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian ancestry) 95%, other 5%


[deleted] t1_iz0mnzy wrote



Nightmare_Tonic t1_iz0mwgo wrote

Former historian here. The reason why the focus in our field is primarily on European-style, White colonization of Indigenous peoples is because of its concerted effort, across almost all instances, to not only subjugate the Indians but to destroy their languages / spiritual traditions / cultures. There was slavery among black Africans and colonization among Natives, but they truly were of a different breed and scale. One of the reasons why European-style colonialism is so horrifying is because of its legal systematization, which reminds us of an even more recent event - the Holocaust, as a product of political and legal coordination.

Addendum: NOT trying to imply that slavery and invasion among non-white people groups were not horribly brutal and disturbing. It was.


ThoughtCondom t1_iz136pr wrote

There is just an incredible amount of bias in what you just said


Nightmare_Tonic t1_iz1fx2a wrote

I'm not sure you understand what the word bias means, because nothing in my statement is even remotely controversial among historians. Like, none of it.


ThoughtCondom t1_iz1roq6 wrote

>The reason why the focus in our field is primarily on European-style, White colonization of Indigenous peoples is because of its concerted effort, across almost all instances, to not only subjugate the Indians but to destroy their languages / spiritual traditions / culture

The Aztecs and countless others have literally done the same thing, but you called it "European style White colonization" which leads to believe that although you are a historian on paper, you were indoctrinated by the leftist homogeneity that exists on campuses today.


TheBearasaad t1_iz0uylb wrote

“Nonwhite people did it too” is not the strong controversial argument that people seem to think it is when they make it. Everyone recognizes that it isn’t just white folks who did nasty shit to other people. But that doesn’t change that the topic in question here in this thread is how much history and culture for the indigenous tribes of that region was lost as a result of white colonists.

The topic doesn’t need to shift. You can let it be without pretending that you’re educating people on something which they already know.


dubamamorange t1_iz19l45 wrote

take a browse in this comment section, a fair number of people use colonizer as an ubiquitous term for people of european decent. not to mention politicians, government employees, university staff and professors, ngo and non profit employees etc etc


TheBearasaad t1_iz1dd3h wrote

It’s still just changing the topic from the actual direct conversation being had, to make a point for a bad faith argument.


Dudecar123 t1_iz0vycy wrote

if you extrapolate this out to every period of history where conquest destroyed records and memories of civilizations, its really astounding.

Its insane to think about how much we don't know, will never know, and have no inkling of a thought that were missing out on it (Alexander conquests (destroyed Persepolis), Mongols wrecking Middle East, random fires or natural events that destroyed the only copies of ancient recorded works... its wild)


OsonoHelaio t1_iz190za wrote

Im really sad that all the mayan language writings were lost. How cool would it be to be able to have translations of that body of knowledge? And a written language qhere you use different forms of letters to create artistic pictures?


Aimless_Wonderer t1_iz1tgkz wrote

Yeah, it's amazing how strong the instinct to destroy has been throughout history. Makes me sad. It just seems so pointless...


Dudecar123 t1_iz249r0 wrote

Survival... if they didn't destroy their enemy, we would be reading their enemy's histories.


LouQuacious t1_iz17ceo wrote

One thing I recall reading is that most natives died without ever encountering a European. By the time colonization was really going something like 90-95% of indigeneous people had already perished due to diseases being passed through trade networks. French fur trappers reported finding loads of abandoned 'ghost' villages or a very few ragged survivors. If native people had immunity to diseases it's possible colonization would never have occurred, at least not to the extent it did.


Ceramicrabbit t1_iz0q232 wrote

The fact they mostly only had oral traditions is a big factor


[deleted] t1_iz1decj wrote



Ceramicrabbit t1_iz1e1vu wrote

The post is about north American tribes which didn't have any system of writing though


kanegaskhan t1_iz25au1 wrote

There were birch bark scrolls kept that were lost due in fires set to purge areas that were decimated by disease. Stone tablets are a lot more hardy than bark. My father has one passed down to him that tells some story on it in hieroglyphs.


Ceramicrabbit t1_iz2co4n wrote

From a North American native population? They didn't use hieroglyphs, they had petroglyphs and pictographs but those arent a form of writing. Do you have a source on the scrolls? That sounds impossible until the Europeans arrived and introduced written language


JoruusCbaoth75 t1_iz21rsz wrote

Understatement of the millennium. Their oral histories stretched back further than almost any written histories we have. While some of those have added color, I'm sure more than a few had basis in truth.


qarton t1_iz28fot wrote

Don’t learn about the Maya, it will just make you more upset.


BlergFurdison t1_iz1kczf wrote

Histories of Indigenous Americans were completely or nearly completely oral traditions. European disease wiped out huge civilizations like the Mississippi before we even substantively encountered them. From what little I know, there is virtually no record of their culture(s) today.

I am happy to be corrected, btw. I think often of the pre-Columbian people whose presence was in harmony with this land centuries ago. I've found several artifacts and their histories are endlessly fascinating to ponder.


Cinnamoniation t1_iz262yy wrote

Or rather, a sleeping supervolcano didn't exist as a concept among the natives. As far as they were concerned, there were some hot springs in the area and there were some vents that sporadically puffed smoke scattered across. Why would they be so invested in building a folklore around that? And more importantly, why are you so insistent on assuming they would?


bradread1 t1_iz1nkat wrote

History was not lost, however the State run educational system would never tell you the truth.


questingbear2000 t1_iz09kna wrote

Hi, as politely as I can, I don't follow. Was that a throwaway response line, or is there something really tragically useful that has been lost?


Aoeletta t1_iz0aim9 wrote

I appreciate you asking, and I will answer honestly and as gently as I can.

It is inherently racist to say, “or is there something really tragically useful that has been lost?”

Yes. The perspective and culture and first-person history of the tribal communities that existed in this land before colonization is fascinating, beautiful, varied, and we lost it because of genocide. That is a tragic loss.

To ask if it is “useful” is to say that you have no interest in cultural history and see it through a utilitarian lens rather than a human experience lens. It doesn’t have to be “useful” in a practical way for the loss of art, culture, language, history to be grieved.

Many of the tribal nations had a more oratory history tradition, so by killing people, killing the language, stealing the children, and relocation we lost all of that passed on history. To a historian, to people interested in other cultures, to people who study US geography… yes. That seems like a huge loss.


jeffersonairmattress t1_iz0d8m2 wrote

In BC we have only recently found archeological and geological evidence of phenomena and practices that First Nations have maintained as oral truths for thousands of years- imagine how much was erased with disease, other murder and cultural erasure.

Ancient Comox fish traps, sunken undersea gardens….


TheBlueSully t1_iz18y2p wrote

Gardens in the forest a bit south(but in the same/similar ecosystem. So probably existed up there, too).


verdigrizz t1_iz0cgr2 wrote

Good on you for being able to answer that with such grace. What a ridiculous question.


DeaddyRuxpin t1_iz0jbsf wrote

Be very careful with slamming people with comments like it being a “ridiculous question”. Unless the person is an obvious troll you don’t want to turn them off from asking questions. It is much better that they asked the question and then had it answered and explained what they were missing in their perspective that lead to the question being necessary. Calling it ridiculous will turn off the person from asking more questions which will only serve to perpetuate their lack of understanding and potential insensitivity towards other cultures.

A lot of people are raised and educated in very homogeneous environments. If their exposure to history has only been to big topics like Greek and Roman culture where we have a massive amount of data, they may not realize how lacking we are in North and South American indigenous history. Their question may have been more along the lines of thinking someone was showing concern over losing a bit of Roman graffiti or a Greek city-state’s local variation of deity worship. Sure loss of that sucks, but they aren’t likely to be revolutionary in our understanding of the cultures.

From that perspective they asked a legitimate question. Is there something in particular we have lost with indigenous history that is significant or is it simply the loss of another longhouse that is fundamentally the same as a dozen others. The response they received was great as it was polite and explained that not only is all cultural history significant but in fact we have lost so much indigenous history that we don’t know far more than we do know.


ftbc t1_iz0mlpv wrote

To put it another way: What was lost was basically the pinnacle of stone age culture. They are right that it can't be given a lot of tangible value--but the loss of ten thousand years of cultural evolution is still something to note. 90% of an entire branch of humanity was wiped out. We should regret it no matter how little value it offered.


aganesh8 t1_iz0nquc wrote

It can't be given a lot of tangible value? According to what? Science? How do you know what would've come of it, if it was peaceful integration? Your take on it, is still patronizing


ftbc t1_iz0qmby wrote

The plagues that decimated the population were inevitable, and those destroyed much of the culture with no special effort by the invaders. Certainly any of thousands of variables would have led to different cultural outcomes, but the native population was so vastly outnumbered after the Old World diseases got done with them that their contribution to the larger picture of humanity was bound to be limited no matter how they were treated.

Ultimately, I don't see a compelling reason to think the world would be substantially different had the genocides not driven them to the brink of extinction.

Edit: to be clear and reiterate my previous point: the loss of culture is a tragic loss no doubt. I'm simply saying that there isn't any way to put a value on that beyond "we don't know things about this culture" which is somewhat circular. There are a lot of cultures we know almost nothing about that were lost to history because they died out or were assimilated. Knowledge is a worthwhile goal in itself, but to say it has any usefulness beyond the satisfaction of simply knowing it is a stretch.


BuckinFutts t1_iz0ojdz wrote

"As politely as I can, aren't some human cultures unlike mine and shouldn't they be completely erased?"


michaelquinlan t1_iyxs5jl wrote

Here is one article about a book, Before Yellowstone: Native American Archaeology in the National Park, by Douglas H. MacDonald.


Lumi61210 t1_iyyrjcf wrote

May I recommend the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for anything related to Yellowstone. Worth an in person visit if you're really interested in these topics.

I grew up in the town directly east of the park and the museum there is Smithsonian grade.


dittybopper_05H t1_iz02xan wrote

The Cody Firearms Museum which is part of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a top-notch firearms museum too. Not really related to OP's question, but the admission to BBCotW is with it just for that.

Also, plan for two days at the BBCotW. The admission covers two days, and it takes nearly that to appreciate all of it. You could get there right as they open and stay until closing and see everything, but it's better to break it up.

BTW, I know the park archaeologist. I once asked her about her research, and the sad truth is her job is taken up mainly by digging test pits near proposed construction or infrastructure upgrades in the park, and subsequently writing reports about it.

On the plus side, though, she sees this kind of stuff every day. I literally took those pics right outside of her office.


Taiza67 t1_iz07cmk wrote

Their founder/curator Phil has done wonderful work with the McCracken research library.


Misuzuzu t1_iz0bfkf wrote

How does it compare with the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian? I was actually a little disappointed by it when I visited, most artifacts on display there had no extra info, so I ended up using google lens.


Cuzcopete t1_iyy7cnp wrote

American Indians and National Parks, Univ AZ Press (1998)


Gerasans t1_iyxrlt6 wrote

Try to read James Willard Schultz.

There is no or few about YNP, but I don't think his descriptions are different from what happened between tribes and whites


C00K1EB0Y t1_iyyeity wrote

A Land So Strange by Andre Resendez doesn't specifically mention YellowStone National Park but is a good insight into how native Americans lived and interacted with each other and the settlers.

It's a Spanish perspective. The first part of the book is mainly to do with the Spanish but the second half of the book has most of the interactions.

I hope this helps.


mullaloo t1_iyylqlf wrote

There is a book called 1491, which discusses the Americas pre-Columbus. It started with what is now modern day Mexico, and unfortunately I had to return it to the library before getting much farther in. But I bet that the later chapters would cover the American West which would include that area. At least for the creation myths portion of your question.


KittyScholar t1_iyyn1gc wrote

I LOVE 1491! I will also second a recommendation to it.

It's about pre-contact history. It does make a few references to Yellowstone specifically and the Great Plains in general. However, it discusses all of the Americas. I still recommend it tho!


ThatBitchNiP t1_iyz1ugj wrote

This interactive map is excellent for getting to the specific tribes of areas,

When you search for Yellowstone it names and hyperlinks to their info pages of the 4 tribes which sites resources and links to the tribes websites, if there is one. I know for where I live, the local tribal websites are a trove of amazing information of their history as a tribe and anout the land itself.

The 4 tribes linked:


HistoricallyReclined t1_iyy827n wrote

You might find the following books interesting/address your question: Crimes against Nature by Karl Jacoby Saving Yellowstone by Megan Kate Nelson


carlitobradlin t1_iyycrt9 wrote

Empire if the Summer Moon may shed some light on interactions between many different tribes and white settlers and military.

“Quahadis were the hardest, fiercest, least yielding component of a tribe that had long had the reputation as the most violent and warlike on the continent; if they ran low on water, they were known to drink the contents of a dead horse’s stomach, something even the toughest Texas Ranger would not do.”


xanthidium t1_iyyz3bb wrote

Empire of the Summer Moon, while a good secondary source in that it compiles many other sources, is a very problematic book and not a reliable source for the Indigenous point of view on any aspect of American history.


Not_just_bikes t1_iz27z2e wrote

Neither one of those sound at all in any way objective

Sounds like they just didn’t like the way Native American tribes were shown rather than having actual factual errors to point out


WanderingPlant t1_iz0s0no wrote

Mountain Shoshone used the geothermal pools to heat bighorn sheep horns to stretch in order to make very powerful bows out of the softened horns and deer sinew. Peoples would also cook foods in baskets or sacks inside of the hot pools for cooking.


Nightmare_Tonic t1_iz0m2h5 wrote

Professor Amy Lonetree at UC Santa Cruz is a Shoshone Indian (IIRC) and a professor of Indigenous History. She probably knows the answer to your questions, if you care to email her.


the_mooks t1_iz0jm8m wrote

Another perspective to keep in mind, and this is not true for all indigenous peoples of course, is that a lot of Indigenous knowledge was/ is shared verbally and not always documented in writing like anthropological textbooks, as many colonial settler cultures tend to do.

A lot of indigenous history is explicitly not communicated to colonial cultures, researchers, anthropologists, etc… as to protect their culture from the people that displaced and slaughtered them.

Sorry this probably isn’t the research/ content you were looking for!

Some other tribes native to the Yellowstone NP area, incase you want to do more research on them :) Newe Sogobia (Eastern Shoshone) Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Apsáalooke (Crow) Tséstho’e (Cheyenne)


NnyIsSpooky t1_iz28r5v wrote

Here's a book written by Dr Joe Medicine Crow - last War Chief of the Crow Nation.

He wrote many books on Crow culture and history but a lot of them aren't published anymore.

ETA: I am Crow. And iirc, we don't have origins out of Yellowstone National Park. The beginning of our people start with two Chiefs who lived to the east among many lakes and forests. Both chiefs received visions from the Great Spirit, and a pod of seeds. One was told to plant the seeds to provide sustenance for their people. The other - Chief No Vitals - was to go west and plant the seeds in the mountains they find. No Vitals did not leave immediately, but when he was in middle afe. He and the people who went west became the Crow but they didn't have a name originally. They wandered for 100 years before they settled in Crow Country. The went as far west as the great Salt Lake, as far south as north New Mexico, and finally settled in southern Montana/northern Wyoming. No Vitals was dead by then, but his protege Running Coyote was entrusted with the seeds to the mountains, named by Chief Medicine Crow as "the Beartooths, the Wind River Mountains, the Crazy Mountains, the Absarokas, and the Grand Tetons".

"The Crow country is a good country. The Great Spirit has put it exactly in the right place; while you are in it you fare well; whenever you go out of it, whichever way you travel, you will fare worse." - Chief Arapooish to Mr Robert Campbell of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company.

Also, just wanted to say, according to Dr Medicine Crows book, some French brothers ventured from their Canadian Outpost and came across us and named us Beaux Hommes. Because we are some damn good looking people. 😎


mglyptostroboides t1_iyzt418 wrote

I seem to remember reading on a plaque somewhere in the park that they tended to avoid the region which they perceived as haunted by evil spirits.

I would take this with a grain of salt for several reasons. First off, informational plaques at parks and musea are actually not anywhere near as rigorous as they should be (though, in general, the National Park Service is pretty good about this sort of thing). Secondly, it hits a lot of "lol stoopid savages" tropes that depict indigenous people as slaves to superstition. And finally, Yellowstone National Park is HUGE, beautiful and very abundant for people who live off the land. It would be stupid to avoid the entire region ignoring the material benefit to living there. (I seriously cannot stress enough how enormous Yellowstone is. It's not the largest national park, but it's up there. Please don't clog up Grand Loop Road trying to get in and see Old Faithful and then go back to your hotel in Jackson. Take Yellowstone slow and take it all in.)

I'd be interested in hearing some input from someone more familiar with the topic than me. I would email my old anthropology professor but I think she's getting sick of me bugging her every time I have a question about Native American archaeology or culture. 😅


wegqg t1_iyzx5zy wrote

I think obviously your concerns are very well-founded but it is worth remembering that almost every pre-scientific society has a mixture of creation myths and metaphysical explanations for natural phenomena. In fact, you only have to look at the persistence of 'creationism' in the US, for example, to see that it isn't limited to pre-scientific societies either.

Even the modern world needed to understand both plate tectonics and radioactive decay before anything resembling a satisfactory understanding of Earth's geology was possible.

I don't think it would be calling the Ancient Egyptians savages for their interpretation of the Sun as being rolled across the sky or for the Ancient Greeks to regard lightning as the anger of Zeus etc. Nor would I be surprised to find that the many different Native American cultures who must have interacted with Yellowstone will have had their own interpretations and explanations for its geothermal activity etc.


dittybopper_05H t1_iz05w1e wrote

>I seriously cannot stress enough how enormous Yellowstone is. It's not the largest national park, but it's up there.


My brother is a supervisory park ranger there, and it took us several days of him showing us around, and while we hit all the major stuff, we still didn't see everything. But we also spent a couple days in Cody, and took a day trip to see the Grand Tetons and have lunch in Jackson.

Got to stay in Ranger housing in the middle of the park. Pretty cool. And best of all, free! Even entrance to the park, since my brother is an employee and has a sticker on his vehicle.

One thing, though. If you're prone to altitude sickness like my father is, you're better off staying in Jackson or Cody and taking day trips into the park. Being at or above 8,000 feet 24 hours a day really kicked his ass. We even had to take him to Bozeman for treatment. The oxygen cans you can buy didn't help him much. The only thing that helped was getting him down to 6,000 feet or lower.

I was fine, but I definitely was shorter of breath than normal. I typically hike 3 to 4.5 miles a day carrying a 50 lb pack just for exercise, and walking there unencumbered felt like walking with the pack.

Just something to remember.


Kbudz t1_iz27fds wrote

In "Tales from America's National Parks: Campfire Stories" it is mentioned that historians agree that the fear story was a myth. They suggest that natives may have deliberately stayed quiet about Yellowstone.

Although there are 26 native tribes associated with Yellowstone, their stories are absent from the records of European explorers. William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, surmised that the natives were afraid of the geysers- an assumption now widely believed to be absurdly false. More likely is that the natives were intentionally not telling the Europeans about their sacred lands.


pelfrey34 t1_iz1mbio wrote

Empire of Shadows by George Black touches on this.

In short, the rumors that American Indians were "afraid" of YNP is a myth. There were no year-round habitants, but that's because Yellowstone is freezing. And, remember, Yellowstone is massive. Certain areas were often inhabited by the very dangerous Blackfeet, and they'd stay away. Other areas were less hospitable, and so weaker bands of tribes (like the Sheepeater Shoshone) were forced into them.

Here's another good read.

Fun topic!


WinterTires t1_iz00dxo wrote

There were no foreign trappers coming in. The Natives were the trappers and the people coming in were traders, bringing them technology they'd never seen before in exchange for the furs. As you might imagine, trading furs for metal cookwares or rifles was a pretty compelling arrangement before it all fell apart.


CraftyRole4567 t1_iz0vh1a wrote

There are some really good environmental history books that have sections on Yellowstone, looking at how the land was being used before the national park was created – they look at Native American use and also local white use., and how those uses were criminalized. Karl Jacoby’s Crimes Against Nature and Mark Spence’s Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks are both really great.


D_R0CK8291 t1_iz1ht86 wrote

Not directly this, but the book Dispossessing the Wilderness by Mark David Spence talks about the removal of Native Americans in the national parks


Kbudz t1_iz28vcl wrote

"The Origins of the Yellowstone River" is one of the only verified and authentic native stories of the region. A Northern Shoshone man named Ralph Dixey told a version of it, and it was collected in 1953 by folklorist Ella E. Clark. Other than this story, there is little reliable info or documentation on legends, myths, or other native folklore about Yellowstone.

I highly recommend "Tales from America's National Parks: Campfire Stories" edited by Dave and Ilyssa Kyu. It touches on 6 national parks and has a section on Yellowstone but mentions native folklore and stories from each park which the editors said were hard to come by as someone else mentioned here that a lot of native stories were told by word and not recorded.


Pippet_4 t1_iyzqau5 wrote

Sounds fascinating! Definitely keeping an eye on this thread


spicyfeetsleds t1_iz0yu6i wrote

You might enjoy reading Empire of Shadows by George Black


Agente_Anaranjado t1_iz11vap wrote

Hey this is a really cool question, thanks for asking! You've piqued my interest as well. I can't wait to see what comes up.


open_to_feedback t1_iz24vmg wrote

Not far from the subject of the hx of indigenous ppl in Yellowstone I would recommend reading Heartland. From what I gathered from this read you have to appreciate that indigenous people’s relationship with land is obviously not tied to a single location but covers a large expanse of land. National park boundaries, state lines, and international borders came later on.


HaderTurul t1_iz25v9r wrote

Difficult to day exactly what they thought, since that was over a century or two ago, and they didn't really have written language.


kdaviper t1_iyyz4or wrote

Idk but I read a book of Ute stories and I gotta say the one about why dogs sniff each other's butts really spoke to me


maceilean t1_iyz3fjp wrote

If you're into National Parks, Indigenous Americans, and want to be sad read up on Yosemite.


Muhlbach73 t1_iz03xni wrote

To get an objective understanding of what Native American’s treatment of nature was research what a Buffalo Jump was.


unclewombie t1_iyzojk2 wrote

Just watch Yellowstone on tv! The duttons owned it that long ago :)