Glacier National Park, Montana: The Backbone of Mother Earth
Blackfeet tribal member Ed DesRosier considers this breathtaking park a part of his DNA, so he started a tour company to tell its story.
Growing up in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, DesRosier spent most of his childhood outdoors, nurturing an intimate relationship with a place that has always been a vital part of Blackfeet history. Today, DesRosier’s Sun Tours unravels that history for Big Sky visitors.
Home on the Rocky Mountain Range
The Blackfeet Nation borders Northwest Montana’s Glacier National Park, a 400,000-hectare wilderness in the Rocky Mountains that runs all the way to Canada. For DesRosier, who grew up with six brothers and sisters, it’s home. “My dad took us to the backcountry a lot. We went hiking, fishing and mountain climbing. I’ve always been very connected to this land, very passionate about it,” he says.
Ed DesRosier, member of the Blackfeet Nation and owner of Sun Tours, which offers cultural and historical Blackfeet tours of Glacier National Park in Montana
Ancient and Abiding Connections
Ask him what’s special about Glacier, and DesRosier grows thoughtful. “There are so many places in the park where you feel like you’re the first person to walk in that valley,” he notes. “You’re seeing it through your own eyes for the first time, so it’s special to you, but really, people have been walking these same valleys and mountain passes for ages.”
Taking in the stunning views of Glacier National Park, Montana
Beyond the Big Sky
Visitors who come here expecting a big sky get it and more, according to DesRosier. “The sky looks different here. The vastness of the Great Plains as they meet the mountains and rise dramatically from the valley floor amazes people,” he says. DesRosier points out how visitors are equally surprised to hear that as far back as 10,000 years ago, people lived in the Glacier area, despite extreme winters. “And they led productive, fruitful, bountiful lives,” he adds.
The big (and ever-changing) skies of Glacier National Park reflected in a glacial lake
A Visionary Tour
DesRosier started Sun Tours after working for years as an area interpreter and hearing many visitors express an interest in native culture. “I had the goal of giving the traveler a little more than what they were usually getting,” he says. “I wanted to share the cultural connection and relationship I have to this beautiful place.” Now in its 25th year, Sun Tours runs cultural-historic tours along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Blackfeet country, emphasizing storytelling and education.
A tour group soaking up the views along Going-to-the-Sun Road
Steward of the Park
For DesRosier, Sun Tours is more than a job, it’s a calling. “One profound moment that helped shape my view of the world as being fairly large happened when I was seven and climbed a mountain.” DesRosier recalls feeling passionately moved by the environment below him. Now, Sun Tours operates in a spirit of stewardship and conservation. “We try to instill the values of who we are not only as a culture but as modern-day Blackfeet,” he says. “We are protective of what we have and passionate about our tribal connection to it.”
Epic valley and mountain scenery at Glacier National Park