Meriwether Lewis Blackfeet Encounter Site - Cut Bank

On July 26, 1806, Captain Meriwether Lewis with George Drewyer (Drouillard), Joseph Fields and Reuben Fields camped with a party of eight Blackfeet Indians. At first the meeting was cordial, but the encounter turned hostile when Lewis disclosed to the Blackfeet that the United States government had plans to supply all the Plains Indians with firearms for hunting. This was not good news for the Blackfeet, who until that point had been controlling firearms through their trade relations with the Hudson Bay Company. The Blackfeet decided to make off with the party's horses, leaving them on foot. At this point the only armed encounter with Indians during the entire expedition occurred here, with two of the Blackfeet being killed in a fight over horses and guns.

The actual site wasn't discovered until 1964 by two Cut Bank Boy Scout leaders (Ben Epstein and Robert H. Anderson), who used the directions and descriptions contained in Lewis's journal. Two of the 'three solitary trees' described by Lewis in his journal still stand and the site has been marked and fenced by the local Boy Scout District and has been declared a national historic site by the National Park Service.

Information provided by the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

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