By Jessianne Castle EBS ENVIRONMENTAL & OUTDOORS EDITOR
LIVINGSTON – Yellowstone National Park has long been a place that inspires. Well before Congress established the area as the nation’s first national park, Native peoples maintained a spiritual and personal relationship with the landscape and that bond continues today.
The inaugural Tribal Marketplace at Yellowstone held June 11-14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the park’s Old Faithful Inn will celebrate this heritage, highlighting Plains Indian art and culture through the works of nine Native artisans hailing from the Crow Agency in Montana, the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, and from Oklahoma.
Throughout the week, tribal members will display and sell their work while providing demonstrations in their craft ranging from beadwork and painting to fashion design and the creation of herbal salves. On opening night, June 11, Native designers will feature their work during a fashion show from 6-8 p.m.
“We’re showcasing not just what people think of as traditional craftsmanship, but there’s also more contemporary art,” said Karen Tryman, director of retail for event host Yellowstone National Park Lodges. Tryman and her team organized the Tribal Marketplace this year in order to elevate the presence of local Native artisans.
“Traditionally there has been over the years … less representation of Native culture in the arts,” Tryman said. “We just thought this was a great opportunity.”
She added that the park holds a special place for many Native arts. “Having artists in the place of their inspiration is exciting for them as well as for the public,” she said.
Also in attendance will be representatives from the American Indian College Fund, an organization working to help Native people obtain higher education at a time when only 14 percent of Native Americans have a college degree. A benefit raffle during the event, with a package prize worth $1,700, will support the college fund.
Visit yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/shop/yellowstone-tribal-marketplace for more information.