By Ron VandenBoom
by Ron VandenBoom
The Havre Daily News
Friday, May 7
Havres Wahkpa Chugn Bison Kill Site continues to expand with the addition this year of a bison preparation site.
The attraction is located on the actual site of a known preparation area that was used hundreds of years ago by American Indians to process the bison after is was killed.
Mannequins, donated to Wahkpa Chugn by Herbergers, are dressed in costumes designed to authentically mimic the dress of the Indians who used the site as much as 2,000 years ago.
Anna Brumley, who, along with her husband John, manages and does archeological work on the site for the H. Earl Clack Museum, have erected teepee poles, a cooking pit and a drying rack to better illustrate some of the articles used by the Indians to prepare the meat. Actual sinew has been used to stitch together the costumes, moccasins, and jewelry on the mannequins, and is also used on the male childs bow and drying rack.
Weve done everything we could to make it look authentic, said Anna Brumley during a tour Thursday.
The current preparation site was used by the Saddle Butte Culture from A.D. 600 to approximately A.D. 1600, but other sites in the area have been located that belonged to other cultures and were used at different times, Brumley said.
Another area to the east of the display was also used as a processing area by the Saddle Butte Culture and, Brumley said, they also expect to erect teepee poles later this spring in that area as well.
Brumley said all three Indian cultures that used the site, the Besant, the Avonlea, and the Saddle Butte, constructed corrals and preparation facilities in various areas of the kill site and many used the same areas as those who came before.
A corral structure used by the Avonlea people has been discovered on the east end of the site that Brumley said will be reconstructed in time for next years tourist season.
Brumley estimates that as few as 25 bison may have been killed at any one time and as few as 30 Indians were needed to operate the kill site.
Visitors to the site can see the on-going archeological work in any of the five sheds that house the excavations.
Wahkpa Chugn is becoming more interactive and more visual, Brumley said.