Global Volunteers - Volunteer Programs in Montana

Video and Photos

Experience in the unique culture on the Blackfeet Reservation
Experience in the unique culture on the Blackfeet Reservation
Serving meals as part of North American Indian Days.
Helping to build tipis with community members.
Sweat Lodge experience
Volunteers celebrating "Blackfeet Youth Day"
Volunteers celebrating "Blackfeet Youth Day"
Rainbow welcome the horse-riding volunteers
Volunteers painting in Montana
Volunteers painting in Montana
Chief giving a speech at Mortgage Burning Celebration

About

Join Global Volunteers for one week in helping and understanding the Blackfeet culture as a volunteer. Your help is wanted to improve educational, recreational, and social aspects of life on the Blackfeet reservation.

Possible volunteer work projects include:
• Building and fixing playgrounds
• Landscaping public areas
• Organizing a library
• Assisting at a nursing home and offering companionship to elderly
• Painting classrooms

Opportunities for working in professional areas are also available. Volunteers of any background are encouraged to share their skills. This program is great for families volunteering together. (The minimum age is 8.) We appreciate your interest in volunteering to improve conditions for Native Americans at the Blackfeet Reservation with Global Volunteers!

Questions & Answers

Our lodging for volunteers is right on the reservation. Volunteers lodge with their teammates in safe and comfortable 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.
Hi, Debra! While Global Volunteers is a non-sectarian organization, we do partner with some religious organizations such as the Baptist Church in Ciego de Ávila, Cuba and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ipalamwa, Tanzania. In Havana, Cuba we partner with the Cuban Council of Churches and serve two senior centers for the elderly. Can we send you more information on any of our programs?
Hi Vicki, Global Volunteers offers just short-term volunteer opportunities, 1 - 3 weeks. Comfortable and safe lodging is included as part of the tax-deductible service program contribution. Feel free to call (800) 487-1074 or [email protected] if you have additional questions!
Yes, there are 1 week and 2 week programs. :)

Reviews

96%
based on 10 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 10 of 10
Default avatar
Kathleen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A week of discovery!

I went on my first Global Volunteer trip this year to the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. I have Loved Montana for as long as I can remember. This was at least my fourth time there albeit a different location each time. I chose Global Volunteers due to the recommendation of a colleague who had gone elsewhere. She had nothing but praise for the organization and now I know why.
I have no problem travelling alone and I was excited to meet new people and to provide service to others again. Our team leader was very friendly, knowledgeable and flexible. He reiterated that we would only work in capacities and areas in which we had been invited by the local community. What I found was we were welcomed with open arms due to the strong reputation of the "Globals"! The people welcomed our labor but also eagerly engaged with us as newfound friends! We readily shared information about our families and culture. We got to experience immersion into the community as no tourist could! We were invited into homes and allowed to experience Indian traditions such as a sweat lodge, ranching and native dance.
Our work varied, but some of us went to the local nursing home to interact with and get to know some residents where some beautiful stories of early lives were shared with the volunteers. Other volunteers assisted in delivering meals to local residents and helping refill shelves at the food pantry. A few people helped repair fences and dug post holes, a very laborious task in this Montana soil! One afternoon I helped serve lunch to children at a private school and also assisted in organizing the Thrift Store.
I always felt safe and the accommodations were fine. The food was very good and we were always asked for input from our team leader regarding work projects and supper plans. I really enjoyed our team morning meetings and sharing our experiences. This team seemed like a good fit as we all were of the mind to serve others and keep an open mind to a new culture, along with learning about each other in the group. I'm not sure where I'll go next but I've already been reading about the Global Volunteers’ other sites. I have no hesitation about working with this organization again.

What would you improve about this program?
I'm not sure if there is anything that I could change about this program.
Default avatar
Gabe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience

I spent a week in the blackfeet reservation in Montana near Glacier National Park and it was an incredible experience. The team leader was very prepared and everything ran very smoothly. I could also really tell that we made an impact on the community. We did all kinds of different volunteering on the reservation, we did labor projects, served meals, hung out with children and more. We also were able to spend time with the community and really immersed ourselves in the community. Not only would I go back to Montana but I'd love to try out other programs that global volunteers offers.

I loved spending time with the resort of the volunteers that we're all ages and came from all different walks of life, but we all came together to make a difference in Montana.

Default avatar
Lindsey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Second Family

I have volunteered with Global Volunteers on the Blackfeet Reservation two summers in a row now. The people there are welcoming and warm and many have become like family to me. The program itself has been around for a long time, and all of our partners on the reservation are happy to see the volunteers come every year.

Driving around in the big Global Volunteers Van you begin to feel a bit like a celebrity because people are always asking you if you are one of the "Globals" and telling you about a new work project that the team can do. There is no shortage of work on the Reservation, but there is definitely a related culture shock for many volunteers.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the pace of life there is very different, especially if you are someone who is punctual, and rigid about order and control. Work projects may fluctuate day to day, based on this pace and the availability of materials and local people. You may find yourself doing a few different work projects but that affords the ability to meet more people, and create more relationships which is really the whole goal. The work projects are there, not only to get things done, but to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and create relationships with people.

I highly recommend this program for just about anyone. The people are amazing, the scenery can't be beat, and the flexibility of the work projects assures that your skills will be put to use. Oh, and did I mention Indian Tacos?! Delish! (PS- Indian is not a derogatory term on this particular reservation and they are indeed called Indian Tacos).

Default avatar
Suh Ning
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Immersion in Native American Culture and Celebration

This is my first trip to US and volunteering in Blackfeet Native Americans Reservation enabled me to get to know more about the culture and history of America. During my one week volunteering, I helped out in the Great Flood Memorial on 8 Jun. I also helped to bring the Blackfeet Care Center Residents to the Glacier Peak Casino's Mortgage Burning celebration on 11 June 2015, where everyone gets a $20 voucher to play in the casino and a grand funfair with free food and games outside the casino.

During my stay in Blackfeet Reservation, I went to a sweat lodge, where Native Americans practise their unique tradition of praying. I had an unforgettable experience hearing the stories of what the people came to pray for and I personally went through the full ritual of heat, sweat and pitch darkness.

These are the some of the many unique experiences that will be the highlights of my story on my first trip to USA!

Default avatar
Mindy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing and eye-opening cultural experience.

I've titled this review "eye-opening" for many reasons, but it mostly boils down to one point: I felt like my eyes had been "closed" for a while, and while in Montana with Global Volunteers, I finally opened them up, looked around, and took it all in. Culturally, this trip is amazing. The relationship that Global Volunteers has with the community is excellent, and it allows for trip members to feel like a part of the community. I learned more about Blackfeet and American Indian culture in one week than any novel, textbook or documentary could ever teach. The trip also opened my eyes to the need on the reservation -- a need that my team could help address. And finally, the landscape is breathtaking. To take time away from computers, phones, and my busy lifestyle, I was able to open my eyes to the pristine beauty of "Big Sky Country." I definitely recommend this trip to anyone looking for a new experience. Yes, you need to be open-minded and a bit flexible, but if you can manage that, the experience is well worth it.

What would you improve about this program?
The program can seem disorganized at times. I know a lot of this has to do with being on the reservation. What I would suggest is just making sure that all the volunteers know this ahead of time-- prepare them to be flexible and "go with the flow".
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Sherry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Blackfeet Wisdom

Our family visited the Blackfeet Reservation with GV in 2010. The beauty and wisdom of that culture has remained with us ever since. I have often still referred to things I learned and experienced there.

Our appreciation for creation grew from witnessing the respect and honor demonstrated by the BF People. It was an honor to be permitted to experience their world first hand.

This experience also shattered many stereotypes that we have been exposed to living in a white dominated society.
We are so grateful to have participated in this volunteer experience and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to gain an appreciation for another culture. The direct participation in and with BF People's daily lives and practices was a unique opportunity.

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Noa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Eye Opening Father-Daughter Project

My dad and I went on this as part of my bat mitzvah service project. Even though I was the youngest person on the trip (12 at the time), it was a very interesting project. It was also a lot of work. Perhaps the most thing I did was the two days I went around delivering lunches to people who could not leave their homes. We also met one women who showed us pictures about the Blackfeet religious ceremony held to ensure that her son in the US military stayed safe. It was a very interesting experience.

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Cindy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Expanded Horizons

To experience Montana alongside the Blackfeet Indians is to immerse oneself into what is truly important. The Indians hold family and community amongst their most important values. Although volunteers participate for just a short time, relationships come easily and the volunteers feel embraced by the community. Elders share stories of the Great Rocky Mountains while children share traditional Indian dances. Volunteers have many opportunities to engage in the community from assisting the librarians and the facilities staff at the Blackfeet Community College to helping the Boys and Girls Clubs sew Indian costumes for the upcoming Pow Wow. For newcomers to Indian culture, this volunteer opportunity enables a wonderful glimpse into incredible heritage and tradition.

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MDavis
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Helping others, making friends and growing

I thoroughly enjoyed my week on the Blackfeet Reservation. I met wonderful people - both the local people as well as the other volunteers. The GV staff go out of their way to make living conditions as comfortable as possible. Don't expect luxury. The work can feel disorganized at times, but it does come together. Small actions have a big impact. Take every opportunity to enjoy, learn, and appreciate the local culture. GV isn't there as a tour guide, but they will offer suggestions. Take their suggestions - go on the hikes, go to the sweat lodge, go to the Mission, go on the horseback ride. There is so much to do and see and learn. I returned a more appreciative person.

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CHA
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Acceptance in the Blackfeet Community

All the locals we met were very welcoming and often thanked us for our service. Some projects are done by volunteers without local participation. But it's the necessary price to have an inside appreciation of an Indian reservation. Global may be the only group that has developed such a strong ongoing relationship. There's not a lot to do on your own during free time so our team leader brought in local speakers and planned incredible side trips to show us the area (Glacier National Park, horseback riding on a working ranch, spiritual ceremonies, etc.) Global still needs to work on better housing. Apparently the previous provider of housing had a falling out with Global. We spent time in a house that needed a good cleaning and then at the community college in large dorm style rooms. You gotta like dogs; they're everywhere (and have a history with the Blackfeet). Overall an incredible experience.

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About Global Volunteers

Global Volunteers, a non-profit organization, has been giving short-term volunteers the chance to provide essential services to local people on service programs since 1984 - and trusted by 34,000+ volunteers. Volunteering for one to three weeks under...