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Crow Pipe Ceremony

Greetings WAC Community,

Remember the wonders he has done. – I Chronicles 16:12

While this scripture refers to King David’s psalm asking the Israelites to remember their story, we are blessed to be invited to participate in remembering the story of the Crow Tribe.  The Wyoming Association of Churches was approached several years ago to be fiscal agent and supporter of the Crow Pipe Ceremony that takes place annually at what we know as Heart Mountain (Foretop’s Father as it is known by the Crow) near Cody.  With the persistence of the event coordinator, Mary Keller, we said yes, and are pleased to let you know about the plans for June 15 and 16, 2017.   This is another part of Wyoming’s history for the indigenous people. I plan to be there and hope that you also can come, whether you camp or find other local lodging.

Below are the details including directions that Mary Keller sent us.  You should RSVP if you plan to be there for dinner Thursday evening, but otherwise an RSVP is not needed.  Leaders of WAC attending plan to have dinner afterwards on Friday evening and are invited to join us, Dutch treat.

7th Annual Return to Foretop’s Father

Thursday evening June 15 and Friday June 16, 2017

3 Events to Share, Learn, and Hike

June 15

  1. 6 pm Fundraising Dinner

  2. 7 pm Seminar: “Divine Right and Sacred Lands: Reflections on the History and Future of Sacred Land in the 21st century.”

June 16

  1. 9 am Leave from the Heart Mountain Trailhead*** on the Heart Mountain Nature Conservancy Ranch for  round trip hike to the tree-line kiosk for

  2. 11:00-11:30 am Pipe Ceremony led by Grant Bulltail, Crow tribal elder and Pipe Lighter

  3. 1-3 pm Summit Heart Mountain and return to the Trailhead

  4. Round trip hike to summit is approx. 7.5 miles with 2,500 vertical feet rise.

Program Schedule:

Thursday, June 15 (Dress for an outdoor venue with roof.) All are welcome to the evening seminar, and those interested are invited to make a reservation for the 6:00 pm dinner.

  1. 6:00 pm, Common Ground Campground, 2020 Lane 13H

Farm to Table catered fundraiser dinner with Seminar speakers and tribal guests, suggested donation $35/plate.

See “Return to Foretop’s Father” Eventbrite page to reserve your place or call 307 250 1474.

  1. 7:00-8:30 pm, Common Ground Campground, 2020 Lane 13H

The Seminar brings together two Apsáalooke (Crow) tribal members with two Wyoming lawyers to discuss “Divine Right and Sacred Lands: Reflections on the History and Future of Sacred Land in the 21st century.”

The panel will include:

Grant Bulltail, “What Restoration of Tribal Presence on Heart Mountain Means to Me”

Kenneth Chestek, JD, University of Wyoming Law School, “A Brief History of Manifest Destiny and the Myths of Divine Right in Wyoming”

Chesie Lee, JD, “What Wind River Native Advocacy Center Means to Me”

Noel Two Leggins “How Tribal Restoration and Governance is Progressing from the Eyes of a Young Tribal Organizer”


Friday, June 16

7-8  Common Ground Campground, 2020 Lane 13H,Breakfast served, griddles shut down at 7:45 and sufficient clean up so as not to attract pests.  Or bears. Make lunches to carry up the mountain.  Sandwiches, apples, granola bars, water bottles.  Take care of water bottles so that you can refill with the water that will be available up on the mountain.  Please notify Mary Keller of your interest in the Breakfast, 307 250 1474.

8:15 Car pool for 30 min. ride to the Trapper’s Cabin trailhead on Heart Mountain Nature Conservancy Ranch.  Sign waivers.

9:00 Hikers receive logistics and safety instructions.  All hikers should have sunscreen, hats, bug spray, proper shoes and rain coats.

10:00 Those who cannot attempt the hike, including Grant Bulltail, will meet at the Nature Conservancy Office, 1357 Rd 22 to carpool in four wheel drive vehicles that are suitable for a serious mountain road journey to the tree line kiosk.  These vehicles will include lawn chairs, water coolers.

11:00 Hikers and drivers meet at the tree line kiosk. Eat sack lunches.  Grant Bulltail tells about Foretop and the significance of the mountain they call “Foretop’s Father” and then offers Pipe Ceremony to ceremonially connect us with the healing power of the mountain.

12:00 All hikers attempting to summit the mountain will leave for the summit.  Those wishing to return will head back down the mountain.

1:00 Summit picture!

1:30 All hikers begin descent. Please hike in groups of no less than 4 as you make your way down the mountain to the trailhead.

3:00 All hikers are off the mountain.

Directions:  Heart Mountain is situated nearly equidistant from the small cities of Cody and Powell and Highway US14A connects the two. From Powell, travel southbound on US14A for approximately 11 miles and turn right onto Road 19 (if traveling from Cody turn left). Shortly after making the turn you will cross some railroad tracks and pass the remnants of the World War II Japanese Internment Camp which is a State Historical Site.

After 1.5 miles and 90 degree right and left turns respectively, Road 19 becomes Lane 13H. Follow Lane 13H west for 3.2 miles until it intersects Road 22. Travel due west over the canal, approximately 1 mile until you reach a closed gate. The gate is not locked and Heart Mountain Ranch allows vehicles to pass through as long as you close it behind you. Travel another 2 miles until you reach the trail head parking lot. This road can have rough spots, but you should not have any troubles unless you are riding in a lowered vehicle. This trail is 7.6 miles round-trip and gains 2,560 vertical feet as measured on my GPS (sources list the trail length at 7.2 miles).

I hope to see you there!


Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.


Chesie Lee

The Wyoming Association of Churches appreciates your many financial gifts for our justice work in Wyoming.  Click Here. Or you may mail checks to PO Box 1473, Laramie, WY 82073.

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