Cultural Discovery: An After-School Program of Arts Missoula

Take a journey into the heart of art & culture through the music, dance, cuisine, language, and attire. Together, we traverse cultural landscapes, exploring the origins or affiliations of the Missoula community members, enriching our awareness and deepening our understanding of the peoples who call Missoula home.

Meet Arts and Culture Maker: Benjamin Headswift – Northern Cheyene

Benjamin Headswift is a Singer-Songmaker who plays an integral role in preserving the history and culture of his Northern Cheyenne tribe as a Native American drum instructor. He shares storytelling experiences with audiences from Montana to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. He recently led our community in a traditional Northern Cheyenne tribal round dance song and land acknowledgement during Arts Missoula’s New Year’s Eve event: Missoula on Main.

To uphold elders’ wishes for their homelands and taking a stand for future generations, Mr. Headswift served a 4-year term on the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council, 1.5 years as Sargent at Arms, and 2 years as the Chair of Northern Cheyenne Land and Grazing. Additionally, he served his country for three years in the US Army.

Mr. Headswift has a degree from the University of Montana with a major in Native American Studies. His experience and degree have opened many doors including his position as Native American specialist for Missoula County Public Schools and recently was selected to create a Native American logo for the University of Montana logo wear in participation of Nike’s N7 program, a national initiative that encourages Indigenous youth to join in sports and recreational activities.

Originally from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, MT, Benjamin and his wife currently live in Missoula with their 4 children.

About This Class

In his classes, Benjamin Headswift, Northern Cheyenne tribe, aims to foster a deep understanding and appreciation for his tribe’s traditions. Through teachings on Northern Cheyenne customs, particularly through drumming and song, students will be immersed in the true nature of his culture. Despite the cultural distinctions in gender roles, all students will be warmly encouraged to actively engage and absorb the invaluable lessons shared.

Arts Missoula is proud to present:

Culture Feast: Summer Treats for Mind and Body!

In partnership with the Missoula Foodbank, Arts Missoula is thrilled to present an enriching summer program tailored for children in low-income neighborhoods. As participants enjoy a nutritious lunch provided by the Foodbank, they’ll embark on a journey of cultural discovery led by our talented instructors, Elisha Harties and Julia Duarte. Julia, a native Brazilian dancer and University of Montana student, will captivate young minds with vibrant dances from Brazil and beyond, sharing her global dance experiences. Meanwhile, Elisha, a skilled clay artist and educator, will inspire creativity through hands-on clay sculpting sessions, introducing students to animals from around the world and the cultures they inhabit.”

Cultural education is not just about learning facts or traditions; it’s about fostering empathy, understanding, and appreciation for diverse perspectives. In today’s interconnected world, it’s crucial for young people to develop cultural competence and a sense of global citizenship. By immersing children in art, dance, and storytelling, we not only ignite their curiosity and creativity but also cultivate respect for diversity. Through ‘Culture Feast,’ we aim to empower young learners with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate an increasingly diverse society, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion for all.


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