Glacier National Park, Mont.
Tourists love visiting Montana’s Glacier National Park for the gorgeous natural formations and abundant summertime scenery. But long before this land became a vacation destination, it was home of the Blackfeet people.
Today, Sun Tours gives visitors a look at the park through the lens of Blackfeet history and culture.
“The Blackfeet believe that this is the place of our ancestral homeland — our people have been here since time immemorial,” said Ed DesRosier, owner of Sun Tours. “Our focus is to share the history and culture of who we are in relation to the land that we’re seeing and experiencing. We have a deep connection that’s still present, and it goes back 10,000 years.”
The tours follow Going to the Sun Road, the park’s main thoroughfare. But in addition to showcasing the area’s natural beauty, DesRosier and the other Blackfeet guides take time to point out areas that were once buffalo hunting grounds or summer campsites along the river.
Visitors learn about the importance of the vision quest in Blackfeet religious tradition and can also visit historic sites on a Blackfeet reservation that sits just outside the national park.
Civil War History Tour
The tour begins in the historic Capitol Square in Tahlequah, Okla., and discusses the burning of Cherokee buildings during Confederate Brig. Gen. Stand Watie’s march through the town.
Murrell Home — The house is of the few homes in the area to survive the Civil War and is the only antebellum plantation homestead remaining in Oklahoma.
Fort Gibson Historic Site — Learn about the colorful history of the fort during the Civil War as it changed hands several times; it restored with a reconstructed log fort and several original buildings from the 1840s through the 1870s.
The Honey Springs Battle Site – The site marks the largest battle in Indian Territory. The Union defeat of Confederate forces was a major Civil War turning point in Indian Territory.
Will Rogers History Tour
The tour begins at the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Okla., where visitors learn about the major events in Rogers’ life, from Hollywood to his political career.
Other stops on the tour are:
Downtown Claremore, Okla. — Located off Route 66, the town center is home to several historic spots; visit the Victorian Belvidere Mansion or Hotel Will Rogers or browse the many antique shops.
Dog Iron Ranch in Oologah — The 1875 house where Rogers, the son of a Cherokee senator and judge, was born has been authentically restored. It is part of a 400-acre working cattle ranch.