The Ross ISR Project sits along the Little Missouri River, a thoroughfare for peoples throughout prehistory. People traveling between the Powder River Basin and Thunder Basin and the Bear Lodge Mountains used the Little Missouri River as a natural travel route because of its water, firewood, game and other resources. Archaeological evidence indicates at least 11,000 years of human activity in the headwaters of the Little Missouri River including evidence of ancient camps, bison hunting, ceremonies and other activities. Numerous Native American tribes have historical ties to the area. The Bear’s Lodge, aka Devil’s Tower, and the Bear Lodge Mountains have long been considered “medicine country.” These mountains are significant ritual locations and the subject of multiple tribal traditions and legends. Native American spiritual use of the Bear’s Lodge continues to this day.
The Little Missouri Headwaters Cultural Heritage Project assembles information about historic human activity in the northeastern Powder River Basin, giving Native American tribes and other interested persons the ability to learn more about properties of traditional religious and cultural importance where direct access to those properties might not be possible.
Through this project, tribal members and scholars are encouraged to contribute oral histories, language elements, and other resources to further expand the context of this website and enliven the rich history of the Little Missouri Headwaters area.