Nestled in the shadow of the Bear Paw Mountains, on the road to everywhere in north central Montana, WAHKPA CHU'GN (pronounced walk-pa-chew-gun) is the most extensive and best preserved Native American hunting ground buffalo bone deposit in the northern Great Plains.
Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump was discovered in 1961 by John Brumley as he was exploring the bluffs near Havre, Montana. John was only 14 at the time. A local amateur archeology group conducted some initial excavations and discovered the significance of the site when it was determined that some of the remains were more than 2000 years old, making it a very valuable historic spot. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
From a steep cliff above the Milk River called Wahkpa Chu'gn, the Assinniboine drove bison to their deaths to provide food for the tribe. Indians used the jump from 2,000 years ago until the 15th century.
The hour-long guided tours are very informative, in part because this is one of the largest and most studied buffalo jumps in existence. Visitors are given a chance to view up close, with no glass cases or "incredible simulations," extensive Native American material and buffalo bone remains. Visitors are also given the opportunity to try their skill with an "atl-atl," or throwing stick. This is NOT a sterile museum or tourist trap. Wahkpa Chu'gn is a real historical site.
The Wahkpa Chu'gn Archaeological Site is located east of Havre, Montana on US 2, at the base of a hill behind the Holiday Village Mall and on the banks of the Milk River. Wahkpa Chu'gn Archaeological Site Is Open Daily For Tours June 1st Through Labor Day
The rest of the year tours are available by appointment by calling (406) 265-6417