Four of us traveled northwest of Great Falls on US 89 last week. Our first stop was in Choteau. We met Al Wiseman, a local Metis, who works tirelessly to keep the history of this mixed blood race alive.
Outside the Old Trail Museum (open seasonally Memorial Day – Labor Day) there is a replica of one of the Red River carts that many Metis used to carry their belongings. Quite a few Metis settled in the Choteau area and there was another settlement near Lewistown.
The museum in Choteau is a complex of several buildings – there is the main museum and several others devoted to specific themes (Gleason Art Studio, Metis house, schoolhouse and the Grizzly Bear).
Al opened the Metis house replica for us. It was small but offered shelter and many conveniences compared to living in a tent or tipi. Outside the house you can see the Red River cart. The wheels on the cart made tracks in the ground and we were going to drive west in to the mountains to see where this trail has been marked.
The main museum has a large room devoted to area dinosaur discoveries. Several large dinosaur replicas are located on the museum grounds – very showy and always worth a stop for a photo!
After touring the museum we walked across the street to the Outpost Deli for a wonderful lunch. The weather was changing and it felt good to sit inside this warm and cozy restaurant.