- Listing Type: Summer Programs
- Destination: United States
- Program Delivery: Residential
- Session Start: June
- Session Length: Two Weeks
- Entering Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
- Gender: Coed
- Category: Community Service
- Sub-Categories: Youth Outreach
- Selective: No
- Ages: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
- Minimum Cost: > $3,000
Learn the history of the Northern Cheyenne tribe and help tackle the challenges of contemporary reservation life by making 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 feel the threads of the past.
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.