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Principle 1 - Foster Integrity of Place

Sustain and enhance geographical character by developing and improving in ways that reflect natural and cultural heritage.

sun-tours-logoThe Crown of the Continent region has an incredibly rich natural and cultural heritage. Among other things, this land has been forever stamped by the traditions of the Native Americans, the practices of the timber industry and the influence of the Great Northern Railway. A principle tenet of geotourism is that preservation of heritage is just as important as preservation of the physical place itself. Sun Tours is a great example of a local company in the Crown of the Continent that works hard to preserve the cultural heritage of this land.

Sun Tour’s Mission comes from a Blackfeet presence here today, in providing Interpretive Tours in Blackfeet Country and Glacier National Park. Proud descendents of those early peoples, Sun Tours Guides are well versed in the many facets of Tribal culture and history. Their narratives include the Blackfeet creation story, the use of native plants for food and medicinal purposes, and the traditional hunting grounds that shifted from the lower valleys in the winter to the high country in the summer. Sun Tours provides an insight into the present day relationship the Blackfeet “Nistiapi” People have with the Mountain and Valley regions of this Ancestral Homeland (now called Glacier National Park). This also includes the areas bordering the park consisting of high plains, foothills, and shallow timbered valleys. As the streams and rivers flow all directions from the Continental Divide, they recognize the incredible diversity this landscape offers. They also explore the past relationship and use of this region known as the “Backbone of the World” by the Native tribes including the Kootenai, Stony, Blood Band, Sixsika, and the North and South Pikuni of the Blackfoot Confederacy and others.

The historic use and lifestyle is a relationship which has always depended on the balance of all things, living and nonliving. The earth, (with its plants, animals, rocks, and waters) was, and continues to be, vital to life. Survival depended on utilizing all elements for food, clothing, shelter, tools and spiritual balance. The sacred connection to the higher levels of beings and spirits had a profound impact with respect to the journey through life. Ceremony and Ritual continue to be a substantial part of this earth today.

The parallels of representation of this landscape (managed, as a National Park) has on many levels preserved this intrinsic value to a modern world. This is fundamental to all who experience this place. The traditions of the Native Tribes that date beyond 12,000 years have shown us the constant value to this place of the past to the present.

The focus of Sun Tours has remained the same: to share the identity with the world in which we live, to educate others of our cultural values in relation to the land we travel, and to broaden their understanding of the challenges and struggles to protect our land and live in a changing world.

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