Tribal Affairs & Partnerships

Yellowstone National Park is the traditional shared homelands of many Tribal Nations whose cultures and traditions have shaped the landscape throughout generations. The National Park Service honors with gratitude these Indigenous peoples and values their continuous connections to their homelands. We are committed to working together to protect the land and resources now known as Yellowstone National Park.

Our Goals

We respect and strengthen Indigenous connections to Yellowstone and their role in park stewardship.

Indigenous stories, traditions, and ethnographic resources are an important part of the history and current stewardship of Yellowstone. Creating space for Indigenous people to share their own connections to the land and including these perspectives is a critical part of stewarding Yellowstone.

We enhance Nation-to-Nation relationships.

To honor the federal Indian trust responsibility, the National Park Service consults with Yellowstone’s Associated Tribes, who are sovereign nations, on a government-to-government basis when making decisions that affect culturally significant resources.

We incorporate Indigenous perspectives and voices into interpretation and education programming.

Yellowstone offers opportunities for visitors to hear directly from Tribal members at the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center and special Indigenous cultural events and to learn about Tribes through publications, exhibits, and educational programs.

Associated Tribes

A map of northwest and north-central states with Yellowstone National Park and tribal reservations
27 Tribes are associated with Yellowstone National Park. Note: The above map shows current Tribal reservations; it does not show historic territory.

NPS / Yellowstone Spatial Analysis Center

There are currently 27 Tribes who have historic and modern connections to the lands and resources now found within Yellowstone National Park.

  • Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana
  • Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana
  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota
  • Coeur D'Alene Tribe
  • Comanche Nation, Oklahoma
  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
  • Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
  • Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of the Crow Creek Reservation, South Dakota
  • Crow Tribe of Montana
  • Eastern Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
  • Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota
  • Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana
  • Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma
  • Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
  • Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation, South Dakota
  • Nez Perce Tribe
  • Northern Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota
  • Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation
  • Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota
  • Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota
  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota
  • Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota

Tribal Affairs

Park managers with the National Park Service meet periodically with Tribal representatives for government-to-government consultations to formally exchange information about park projects and ethnographic resources. Tribes provide input into resource management and decision-making, conduct ceremonies and other events in the park, and identify plants and minerals for traditional uses.

Bison Conservation Transfer Facility Expansion: ribbon cutting
Bison Conservation Transfer Facility expansion ribbon-cutting event

Bison Management

Many Tribes have a physical and spiritual connection to bison in Yellowstone. Starting in 2007, some Associated Tribes have exercised their treaty rights and conducted bison hunts outside the park.

Starting in 2009, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, the InterTribal Buffalo Council, and the Nez Perce Tribe have joined the Interagency Bison Management Plan and participate in the development of adaptive management strategies for bison and brucellosis in the areas immediately outside Yellowstone.

Learn more about bison management in Yellowstone.
Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club Ride and Parade
Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club ride and parade

Tribal Representation

In 2018, the park consulted with Associated Tribes on increasing opportunities for non-consumptive ceremonial use of the park. Consultants also reviewed park educational media and programming for representation of native peoples and perspectives.

Previous education consultation focused on the Yellowstone segment of the Nez Perce National Historic Trail and the associated sites and events of the 1877 Flight of the Nez Perce and the park has worked with many other Tribes on vetting educational content. In partnership with Yellowstone Forever, the park continually works with a collaborative group of Indigenous educators to review and incorporate Indigenous perspectives into the park’s educational content.
Fresh snow on First People's Mountain in July
Fresh snow on First People's Mountain in July

Park Place Names

In 2016, the Executive Committee of the Blackfoot Nation contacted Yellowstone National Park to request name changes of two locations inside the park. National place names are managed by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS), and the representatives were referred to the USGS Board of Geographic Names at that time. The committee requested the park change Mount Doane to “First Peoples Mountain” and change Hayden Valley to “Buffalo People’s Valley.”

In 2022, the USGS, based on a recommendation by the NPS, changed the name of Mount Doane to First People’s Mountain.

Tribal Partnerships

In addition to formal government-to-government consultations, park managers with the National Park Service also partner with Indigenous advisors and nonprofits to increase the Indigenous presence in the park and create opportunities for Tribal members to tell their stories directly to visitors.
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Mountain Time Arts Executive Director Francesca Pine-Rodriguez talks about the Yellowstone Revealed partner project as part of the park's 150th anniversary commemoration.

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Tribal dancers in full regalia at Old Faithful
Tribal dancers in full regalia at the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center

YF/ Alyssa McGeeley

Tribal Engagement Manager

In 2023, with support from Yellowstone Forever, Yellowstone hired a Tribal Engagement Manager to oversee the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center and continue the ongoing work of engaging Indigenous people and perspectives into the park’s programs and operations.

Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center

In partnership with Yellowstone Forever, Yellowstone successfully opened the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center in summer 2022. The center brings together Indigenous artists, scholars, and presenters from Yellowstone’s associated Tribal Nations to directly engage visitors through formal and informal education, demonstrations, and storytelling. The project is informed by and staffed by Indigenous partners through the summer season.

Learn more about the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center and view the schedule of presenters.
Yellowstone Revealed: Patti Baldes' ReMatriate performance at Old Faithful
Yellowstone Revealed: Patti Baldes' ReMatriate performance at Old Faithful

Tribal Internship Program

The park works with several different entities to create internships for Tribal members. This includes Salish Kootenai College, the Salish Kootenai Tribal Historic Preservation Office, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Yellowstone Forever, the InterTribal Buffalo Council and the University of Montana. Interns have gained valuable experience working varied roles such as bison, native fish conservation, archeology, invasive species, and interpretation and education.

Yellowstone Revealed

In partnership with Mountain Time Arts, Yellowstone hosts a series of place-based projects by an interTribal group of Indigenous artists and scholars. During the event, visitors can interact with members from Yellowstone’s Associated Tribes to learn about their heritage and culture through storytelling, demonstrations, art installations, and performances. Plans are underway for a third installation during the summer of 2024.
Illuminated teepees and Milky Way
Yellowstone Revealed: illuminated teepees and Milky Way at North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana

Illuminated Teepee Installation

As part of Yellowstone’s 150th anniversary, the Pretty Shield Foundation and Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council successfully installed seven illuminated teepees by Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, Montana. Additional event partners include Yellowstone Forever, Yellowstone National Park Lodges, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Park County Environmental Council. Plans are underway for a third installation during the summer of 2024.

Questions & Answers


For more Q & A, visit Frequently Asked Questions | Indian Affairs (

More Information

A lone bison exits from a trailer
Bison Management

Learn how the park maintains a wild, migratory bison population in a modern landscape.

multiple people riding horseback on a trail through a wildflower-filled meadow
The Nez Perce Flight of 1877

Members of Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club and park staff rode sections of the Nez Perce Trail. Learn more about the Nez Perce Flight of 1877

Brown and gray columns of rock make up a cliff that towers up to a deep blue sky.
The Earliest Humans in Yellowstone

Human occupation of this area seems to follow environmental changes of the last 15,000 years.

a person wearing traditional Native American regalia speaking to visitors
Attend Indigenous Cultural Events

View upcoming Indigenous cultural events happening in Yellowstone.

A horseshoe covered in white rock reads "Yellowstone Park 1897"
Yellowstone's Collections

The Heritage and Research Center houses Yellowstone's extensive museum collection, archives, and research library.


Tribal Affairs & Partnership News

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    Last updated: July 2, 2024

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    Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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