July 21, 2014

Lessons from a Child…

By Bruce Whittenberg, Director, Montana Historical Society
On June 28, the Anzick Child was returned to the land. In a Native American ceremony involving several tribes from Montana, Washington and Oregon, the remains of a small child were reburied near the site of the original discovery.
Anzick Child reburial site
Photo by Bruce Whittenberg
This stunning discovery was made in 1968 near Wilsall, MT and is among the most significant archeological finds of human activity in North America.  Genetic research has determined that the 2-year old child and his family lived on this land over 12,700 years ago.  The Anzick Child is ancestor to 80% of all native tribes in the Americas. Objects included in the cache predate that by nearly 200 years.

The Montana Historical Society has the privilege of exhibiting artifacts
 of the Clovis culture, funerary objects of the Anzick Child.
Photo by Bruce Whittenberg
Presently we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Montana Territory and the creation of the Montana Historical Society.  Humans lived on our Montana land over 12,700 years ago, and have been a part of this land since.  In that context, 150 years is but the blink of an historical eye.  We celebrate this wonderful place, our rich history and the institution we have created that will serve us many generations into the future.  As we do so, it behooves us to remember the people who first discovered this land, made it their home for thousands of years and, whether through blood or heritage, are ancestors to us all.    

To know where you are going, you have to know where you’ve been.  Let’s remember what that really means to each and every one of us and give thanks to the Anzick Child for an important lesson in Montana’s history.