18 June 2010

Chief Mountain-Blackfeet Country

On the very northeast corner of Glacier National Park you will find Chief Mountain rising up to meet the sky. At just over 9,000 ft. it isn’t a particularly high mountain but it is certainly a majestic one.

Chief Mountain has been a sacred mountain to Native American tribes, particularly the Blackfeet, for hundreds of years. The Blackfoot name for the mountain is Ninastiko. The mountain was first seen by white explorers in the late 1700s and was known as "Kings Peak" on maps produced in the United Kingdom in 1795. Merriwether Lewis, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, saw the mountain in 1805 and called it "Tower Mountain". The name was changed in the late 1800s to reflect the Blackfeet naming of the mountain, which was "Great Chief".

The mountain has long been a place where young Native Americans have gone for their vision quest.  A vision quest is a ritual in which an individual travels to an isolated area for the purpose of entering a trance, during which a life path or destiny is revealed. It is quite literally a quest for a vision.

The image above is of the Northern entrance to the Blackfeet Reservation near the Canadian border. You can see Chief Mountain off in the distance.

There is a loop that one can drive, starting from St. Mary, that takes you up to the Piegan border crossing into Alberta and Cardston and then west to Waterton International Peace Park from there back south through the Chief Mountain border crossing. All along this route there is hardly a time when you are out of sight of Chief Mountain and it was interesting to me to watch it change shape as I followed the loop.

If you ever find yourself in this part of the world I highly recommend you take this little junket it's quite beautiful.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography


Dave said...

No wonder we love Montana so much. The pictures are lovely.

Heather said...

Naturally the photos are gorgeous. The history is amazing, it reminds me of that movie "Brother Bear".

I wanted to let you know (if you are interested) that I started a new blogger page just for my photos.

The New Monet said...

These are incredible pictures Kinsey! What a mountain. I love it!!! Lucky you to see it!

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