Visiting Browning, Montana Is Not for the Timid

If you are a heavy duty RV traveler who likes to go a bit off the beaten path and have an adventure tinged with a bit of danger, Browning, Montana is the place for you.

My husband and I have visited this small town in Northern Montana several times, and both of us will be the first to tell you that you need a bit of "grit" to go there.

Browning is mostly inhabited by Native Americans.

When visiting, it is wise to remember that it really has not been that long since the white man and the Indian were at odds with one another.

No place is this old animosity still as visible, as in Browning.  You can feel it when you enter the town.

It is desolate and cold.  You can see drunk Indians wandering the streets or napping on them.  Their mongrel dogs run loose in the streets.

When the citizens there look at you, it is never with warmth.

They remember, and they have never forgiven.

Can't say that I blame them, but I can say that it's uncomfortable enough to make you not want to spend the night there.

Camp at Your Own Risk

They do have a campground at the edge of town, which charges too much for what it offers. If you do get stuck in Browning late in the day, I would advise you to pay what they charge and be happy you have a fairly safe spot for the night.

This is not a town where you want to try dry camping on a side street!

The Museum of the Plains Indian Is a Bright Spot

The one bright spot in Browning is the Museum of the Plains Indian.

When you visit it, you get a glimpse of what these people once were:  proud, beautiful, talented and full of hope.

In front of the museum there is a concrete stage of sorts that you can step upon. There is where tribal members met with the US military at one time to forge a treaty.

To commemorate the event, each person left his footprints, side by side, in the  circle of cement.

You can tell who stood where because all of the Native Americans were barefoot, and the military men wore shoes or boots.

When you step into the footprints of these people, you actually can feel what it must have been like for those involved.

How the Story Ended

We all know how the story ended.

Undoubtedly, the Native Americans innately knew the end was coming despite the promises they were given.

Innocent, poor and probably half starved, they stood on that circle of concrete hoping that somehow things would improve.

Today the town, the museum, and the monument stand as a reminder of the shame of the white man.

The museum is struggling and needs financial help.  If you can, send them some money, that would be wonderful . 

If you travel to Northern Montana,try to make it a point to visit Browning and provide them with a bit of financial support.

Proof, Still, of the White Man's Shame

If you visit, the cold air there will be nothing compared to the cold feeling you get down your spine when you see, first hand, what our forefathers did.

Browning is a scary place for the white man, and it should be.  

What's done is done, but the people of this country need to see the long term results of prejudice and hatred.

Even with this history, today tribes from many nations come to Browning for Pow Wows. This video gives you a taste and lets you see that Native American Pride is not dead.

 TubeBrowning Montana Pow Wow 2013

Perhaps one day the people of Browning will be able to live better lives, but for now, there are many problems which make an RV visit an uncomfortable adventure.