“1846 Travel Among Blackfeet” Special Program May 23


The Lewistown Public Library will host Humanities Speaker Dr. Sally Thompson and her historic presentation “Following Nicholas Point Through Blackfeet Country” on May 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm in the Upstairs Meeting Room at the Lewistown Public Library.  This program is part of the Montana Conversations: Community Conversations by Humanities Montana.

Nicholas Point was a French Jesuit priest who is known for working with Father Pierre Jean De Smet to establish missions among the Salish and Coeur d’Alene. Less well known is the journey that began in August of 1846 that took him to Fort Lewis on the Missouri and into buffalo hunting camps of the Blackfeet and Gros Ventres throughout the winter. Paintings from these camps provide an extensive visual record of Blackfeet life during that decade. This program explores images and narrative descriptions from this eight-month period. Participants will be given an opportunity for some hands-on review of the material, focused on differences between Jesuit and Indian perceptions and expectations.

Dr. Thompson has spent over thirty years working with the native tribes of the West. Trained as an anthropologist (Ph.D., CU, Boulder, 1980), she has worked as an archaeologist, ethnographer, and ethnohistorian, with a particular interest in the period just before and at the time of contact with Europeans. Since 2001, Thompson has traveled widely in search of information on tribes of the Rocky Mountain Mission through Jesuit records. She collected reports and correspondence from the Society of Jesus (ARSI) in Rome, and eclectic correspondence about the Mission from priests, government officials, and other observers, in addition to maps, unpublished illustrations, and contextual information from Jesuit Archives in St. Louis, Montreal, Leuven, Belgium, and Gonzaga Universities, Universities of Oregon and Washington, Washington State, British Columbia Provincial Archives, the U.S. National Archives (NARA) and the Library of Congress. She is currently working on a book exploring the images of Nicolas Point through the eyes of the tribal communities he painted.

“We are so pleased to bring this program to Lewistown,” says KellyAnne Terry, Director of the Lewistown Public Library.  “Dr. Thompson has a unique history to share with us regarding Fort Lewis, the Blackfeet and Central Montana.” This presentation is sponsored by the Friends of the Lewistown Public Library and Humanities Montana. It is free and open to the public. Again, the presentation will be on May 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm in the Upstairs Room of the Lewistown Public Library. For more information please call 538-5212.


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