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Honoring Human History

American Prairie sees the northern Great Plains as a pivotal landscape that has shaped the development and spirit of America. 

We are committed to preserving the elements of national heritage that have colored the area and shaped the story of Montana’s grasslands. The prairie’s human history endeavors seek to reveal stories of settlement and habitation while honoring the spirit of those who made the northern Great Plains their home, from the Native Americans who lived on the land for centuries to the pioneers who followed in the footsteps of explorers like Lewis and Clark.


Located in the Sun Prairie unit, this one-room schoolhouse was used from 1943-57 and reconstructed to its original appearance for visitors to enjoy. 

Heritage Projects


Our first restoration project involved the Prairie Union School, which is located about 50 miles southeast of Malta and was in service from 1943 to 1956. American Prairie is pleased to showcase the Prairie Union School as a resource for future generations to better understand the courage and resilience of their pioneering ancestors. The preservation of this one-room schoolhouse is dedicated to those who obtained their education at this and other similar schools across the regional grasslands. Visit the school. 


Visitors to the Reserve learn about Native Americans, intrepid explorers, and early settlers through our staff, visits to points of historical interest, and interpretive exhibits. Working with local elders, our campground’s welcome signs feature greetings in the languages of both the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine, honoring two of the tribes that lived and hunted in the Reserve region and continue to call the area home. Our staff has also collaborated with Fort Belknap’s economic development organization to design and manufacture kiosks about tribal efforts to preserve bison from ecosystem and heritage perspectives. 


In 2014, a landowner in the region donated a parcel to American Prairie that includes the former site of Regina, a small town that developed at the height of homesteading in the early 1900s. Thanks to expertise from the Phillips County Historical Society, we will install an educational sign at the site in 2016 that celebrates the town and its former inhabitants as emblematic of an important period in our nation’s history. 



As part of your trip to the prairie, take a tour that leads you to the stories, artifacts, and lifestyles of settlers that arrived in the region at the turn of the 20th century.