A Bit of Yellowstone’s Native History


During June this year, the Big Sky Visitor’s Center greeted almost 1,000 visitors, guests from Alaska to Florida, India, Romania, China and beyond.  Like most of the locals, folks come for Montana’s natural beauty and adventure, but the tradition of exploring our region spans back millennia.

Archaeologists have found evidence of humans occupying the Greater Yellowstone area 11,000 years ago in the form of tools and bones. Excitingly, the discovery of bows and arrows, sheep traps and bison corrals from approximately 3,000 years provide a more in-depth understanding of ancient communities.  At least 26 Native American tribes have historic connections to the Park.

During your next visit to Yellowstone Park, stop by the Obsidian Cliff, between Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs.  Marvel at its unique beauty and read the signage discussing its historical importance as the premiere site for arrowhead creation. Archeological and geological evidence has been able to prove the use of this cliff in toolmaking dating back 11,000 years and, even more fascinatingly, these ancient tools have been found in archeological sites as far away as the Ohio River Valley which speaks to the impressive trade routes of the time.

The Spirit of the West is still reflected in the numbers of visitors that come to our region annually. People of yesteryear and today enjoy visiting geysers, conducting ceremonies and gatherings, hunting, and trading. To learn and experience more about area history, the Yellowstone Forever Institute  offers year-round programs highlighting the park’s rich history.