Montana State University

"Before they were Parks" on MontanaPBS Aug. 15

August 5, 2010 -- MSU News Service

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MontanaPBS presents "Before There Were Parks: Yellowstone and Glacier Through Native Eyes" on August 15 at 4:30 p.m.

For more than 12,000 years, the intermountain West's native peoples have called the lands known as Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks home. This program explores modern indigenous perspectives on these great wilderness areas and explores both the cultural divide that separates modern times from the not-so-distant past and recent efforts by the National Park Service and native peoples to bring these disparate visions into greater harmony.

"Before There Were Parks" was written, filmed, directed and edited by Charles Dye. Dye is a graduate of Montana State University's Science and Natural History Filmmaking program.

From time immemorial the lands we now call Yellowstone and Glacier have been regarded by Native Americans as significant and sacred. Today nearly 30 tribal nations maintain official ties to these National Parks, and on-going Native involvement in these areas is considered necessary to the long-term health of America's endangered indigenous cultures by many tribal leaders.

In this unique film, more than a dozen of these leaders and experts from all across the region offer a respectful introduction to the knowledge that tribal people have passed down here for at least the past 12,000 years. Viewers will discover why Glacier and Yellowstone are important to American Indians--for reasons far beyond their recent status as National Parks.

Filmed in all seasons, with high-definition cinematography, and narrated by N. Scott Momaday, "Before There Were Parks" carefully navigates the cultural divide that separates our times from this not-so-distant past, as it introduces the idea of how America's National Parks remain one the last and best ties to the nation's immense indigenous past.

Aaron Pruitt at 406-994-5021 or aaron_pruitt@montanapbs.org