Volunteer on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation

Volunteer and experience life on an American Indian reservation. In the high plains of northern Montana, alongside Glacier National Park you serve as a needed and appreciated volunteer with the Blackfeet Nation. We’ve provided continuous service to the Blackfeet since 1999. In just one week, you learn about the Blackfeet  history and culture while providing a genuine service to American Indian children and elders. Review a standard volunteer work schedule.

FAQs: How to Volunteer on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation

  • REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE

    If you like working with your hands, this is for you!  You might help renovate a tribal park at the base of Glacier National Park, plant a community garden, paint an elder’s home, and help erect a Sun Dance lodge.  Volunteers of all ages and capabilities are useful, needed and welcomed!

  • CHILDREN’S SUMMER PROGRAMS

    This is a high-energy assignment! Help supervise field trips, play and direct games, read story books, or teach a lesson on a topic of your choice. This is a tribally run summer day-camp for children five to 18, with the older kids helping to supervise the younger.  Unfortunately, these children have little else to do on the reservation during the summer, and your help is greatly needed, important, and appreciated.

  • ELDER ASSISTANCE

    Do you enjoy bingo, playing cards, swapping stories or nail polishing? Assist the activities director at the elder care center with stimulating projects and visit one-on-one with Blackfeet elders. And you can join the elders on day-trips to the local museums, parks, grocery store, and casino. Or, help prepare, serve and deliver meals at the assisted living center on the reservation – cook and talk with community women.

  • CRISIS CARE

    If you are a social services or medical professional with specific skills, you may be asked to provide assistance to children and teens who are in protective custody during a family crisis. This request is made only on an as-needed basis on certain teams.

  • PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE

    You can use your professional skills to present workshops or give a presentation in your area of expertise or for specific requests such as substance abuse, diabetes prevention, teen pregnancy, domestic abuse, etc.  And you might provide internet research assistance or teach young entrepreneurs basic marketing and business principles.

Food and Lodging

You may be surprised to find that living conditions on the reservation are very basic, and similar to those in other developing communities around the world. While accommodations may not be what you’re accustomed to (unless you regularly camp) you will be safe and comfortable in the dormitory-style, adjoined rooms divided by gender.  Bathrooms with showers are designated for men and women. Small private rooms may sometimes be available for families with young children.

  • Bunk beds with provided bedding
  • Shared bathrooms with showers
  • Community TV room
  • Industrial kitchen for meal preparation
  • Wi-fi available at some work sites

Breakfast is self-serve at the lodging facility, with packed or provided lunch at the work sites. Evening meals are prepared by a local cook at the lodging facility. Food is typical American West fare – meat, potatoes, salads and soups, or you may be served an American Indian “traditional meal” of buffalo meat, Indian bread or Indian tacos. Strict vegetarian and other restrictive diets may not be easily accommodated. Local water is safe; bottled water is available.

“The volunteers bring their skills, insights, and helping hands to the reservation. But, most important, they bring friendship, curiosity, and compassion. We work together to close the gap of understanding between the Indian and White cultures, and it’s very good.”

Bob Tail FeathersBlackfeet American Indian

“What I love most about providing this service opportunity for my students is that on the reservation, we’re affectionately known as “the Globals.” People seek us out and share stories of their lives, their history, and their challenges. Each of my students learned a tremendous amount, and were humbled by the generosity and openness of our hosts.”

Mindy LullSchool Group Coordinator and Blackfeet Indian Reservation Volunteer

“They’re a hard-working group – those Global Volunteers. We really appreciate everything they do for us. But it’s not all work all day. We have some good times, too. They know how to laugh and joke as much as we do. Global Volunteers is part of our community.”

Connie BremnerBlackfeet American Indian Community Partner

“The ladies at the front desk at the community college taught us how to say “white woman” in the Blackfeet language – Napi Anki (Na bee ah gee) and “white man” – Napi Kaan (Napigwan). They were patient, and sincerely interested in sharing their language. If you care enough to reach out, you’re rewarded with so much generosity and kindness.”

Joanna WhiteBlackfeet American Indian Reservation Volunteer

“One small gesture followed by another and another- eventually a basis for trust and understanding.  The combined and incremental efforts of all Global Volunteers over time truly makes the lasting difference.”

Kerry HaggertyBlackfeet American Indian Volunteer

We certainly had an exposure to American Indian culture and community which I could not have experienced without all of the bridges built by Global Volunteers.  I was deeply impressed by the matched labor approach.   There was a combination of good organization and flexibility which made things run really well. Molly and I came home talking endlessly about our experience and I know we’ll be back.”

Ann DorrBlackfeet American Indian Volunteer

“After this program I have a profound sense of needing to make the world better. In my busy life, I miss opportunities to help people.  I think, holy smokes, I’m so lucky. Through volunteering, you kinda get disrupted (in a good way).”

Gabe HoffmanMontana Volunteer

Be The Change.

Through important, full-day volunteer work assignments and free-time activities, you learn about the American Indian culture and the significant ways you improve Blackfeet children’s and elders’ lives. Our time-tested and proven philosophy of service ensures your efforts help advance the Blackfeet Nation’s development vision and goals. You contribute to genuine development projects, and in doing so, you’re accepted as family. Our commitment to work in partnership with American Indians on long-term community projects enables you, in just a short time, to serve as a critical link in a chain of volunteer support spanning three decades.

Request a Montana Program Fact Sheet