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Wahkpa Chugn celebration on tap


A grand opening will be held Saturday to celebrate site improvements at the Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump.

Events will start at 10 a.m. with an opening prayer by a Native American elder, an introduction and remarks by Hill County commissioners. Assiniboine dancers will perform.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., buffalo burgers and buffalo dogs will be served, along with baked beans, salad and beverage. Dessert will be available for purchase.

The following demonstrations will be presented periodically throughout the day: Patrick Rennie, state archaeologist, stone boiling techniques; Steve Platt, Montana Department of Transportation archaeologist, stone tool manufacturing and flint knapping; and Troy Helmick, atlatl.

Michael Terry, a nationally renowned Native American historian and replica maker, will have an exhibit consisting of an actual buffalo hide lodge with period furnishings.

Wahkpa Chu'gn is a prehistoric Indian buffalo jump and campsite used frequently from about 2,000 to 600 years ago. The site is largely located on land owned by Hill County and is managed by the H. Earl Clack Museum. The museum manages the site with the dual objectives of protecting its scientific and cultural values, while at the same time making it accessible to the public. Massive buffalo jump and campsite archaeological deposits up to 20 feet deep are exposed within five large in-place display houses located throughout the site. The museum's tour program provides a unique and proud view of the area's Indian heritage.

Beginning in 1994, the museum embarked upon a program to expand and improve the site's exhibits, accessibility and amenities for visitors. Last year the county completed a paved trail system throughout the site along with an entry area containing toilet facilities, as well as an attractive wooden stairway starting at the entry area and descending into the site area below. Funding for these facilities came from a combination of state and federal grants matched by local funds.

The entrance to the site is located behind the Holiday Village Shopping Center.

For more information, contact Anna Brumley at 265-6417 or visit the Web page at http://www.buffalojump.org.


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