The VISIONS Northern Cheyenne middle school program is carefully designed with the younger student in mind. Kids get to know the tribe by helping local people improve homes and schools. Service projects are balanced with recreation and cultural immersion including hikes and horseback rides.
The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation was established in 1884, just eight years after the tribe joined the Lakota to fight the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army in the Battle of Little Bighorn (aka Custer’s Last Stand). Now a small, close-knit community based in Lame Deer, the residents struggle with issues that plague many reservations: a lack of adequate housing, sparse social resources and high poverty rates. VISIONS volunteers have worked with Cheyenne tribal members for nearly 30 years, learning the ways of the elders while making meaningful contributions. Your impact will be felt across the generations, from working with younger children in the Kids Kollege educational day camp to serving meals to elders at the Shoulder Blade senior center. You’ll also learn hands-on carpentry techniques to help build wheelchair ramps, picnic tables and garden beds, renovate playgrounds and make home repairs. In the process, the people you meet will change the way you see the world.
When VISIONS began working with the Northern Cheyenne people in 1991, we received a welcoming blessing from Florence Running Wolf and the Tribal Council. Since then, we’ve grown deep roots in this community. While Native Americans living on reservations can be understandably slow to embrace outsiders, the trust we’ve built helps volunteers connect closely with locals. Based in the small town of Lame Deer (two hours east of Billings), students will get to know the Cheyenne in ways they never could from history books. You’ll be invited to activities that few non-tribal members are privy to, such as a drum circles, family meals and a visit to the tribal buffalo herd. You’ll play games and attend Kids Kollege with local children, learn how to make fry bread, berry pudding and traditional beadwork, and hear ages-old and contemporary stories from elders. Our service here is a way of thanking the Cheyenne for opening their lives and homeland to us.