Cultures unite at Two Eagles Trail dedication

Capping a nearly 10-year process of archaeological and ethnographic study, interpretation, learning, collaboration and, ultimately, preservation, understanding and cultural unity, officials of the National Park Service and the Crow Tribe on Saturday dedicated the Two Eagles Interpretive Trail at the trailhead just south of Barry’s Landing and down the road from the Ewing-Snell Ranch.

A large gathering of people from Lovell and the surrounding area attended the dedication, which included a pipe ceremony led by Crow Tribe Cultural Director Burton Pretty On Top, comments by a representative of the Crow Tribal Council, a history of the project by archaeologists who worked on the project, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the site.

Crow Tribe Cultural Director Burton Pretty On Top gives a blessing in four directions during an opening pipe ceremony that was part of the Two Eagles Interpretive Trail dedication Saturday morning.

The interpretive trail is the culmination of a multi-year project to bring cultural history to life in the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area through the work of archaeologists, anthropologists, Crow Tribe elders and the cultural committee, all of whom joined forces to create the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Field School, members of which have worked many summers to document and map with GPS accuracy thousands of rocks and some 154 stone circles and cultural artifacts at the site.

Bighorn Canyon NRA archaeologist Chris Finley said the field school helped engage the Crow community with their heritage through archaeological research and interpretation, and the site was named the Two Eagles site because when field school personnel worked the site two golden eagles would often circle overhead.

Work on the trail began in July with a Montana Conservation Corps crew and local Bighorn Canyon personnel working on construction while Park Service officials worked with Crow Tribe members on language for interpretive signs, which were installed this fall.

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By David Peck

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