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Winter Lodge Rendezvous

December 1 & 2 | 7:00 p.m.
Helena Avenue Theatre

For thousands of years, members of the Montana tribal nations would gather in their lodges during the winter months to share ceremonies, songs and stories. The Montana Playwrights Network (MPN), in collaboration with Native American performance artists, hosts a unique and exciting event that features songs and stories that entertain and educate at the same time; traditional ‘edutainment’: the Winter Lodge Rendezvous.

Native American Presenters

Barney Doney

An enrolled member of the A’aninin tribe from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Barney has a wide reputation as a funny comedian on stage and off. He currently resides with his extensive family in Havre, MT.

Shane Doyle

Shane is a Crow tribal member and educator who grew up in Crow Agency. A singer of Northern Plains tribal style of music for over 30 years, Shane also holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, and completed a post-doctoral appointment in genetics with the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2016. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Dr. Doyle is a full-time educational and cultural consultant, designing American Indian curriculum, and speaks throughout the region about northern Plains Tribal culture and the importance of public lands in Montana. Shane has been a featured keynote at numerous conferences and continues to provide engaging educational workshops for educators across the US.


Chris La Tray

Chris is a Métis storyteller, a descendent of the Pembina Band of the mighty Red River of the North and an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. His third book, Becoming Little Shell, will be published by Milkweed Editions in Niibin, Summer, 2024. His first book, One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large won the 2018 Montana Book Award and a 2019 High Plains Book Award. His book of haiku and haibun poetry, Descended from a Travel-worn Satchel, was published in 2021 by Foothills Publishing. Chris writes the weekly newsletter "An Irritable Métis" and lives near Frenchtown, Montana. He is the Montana Poet Laureate for 2023–2025.


Darnell Davis Rides At The Door

Respected Elder and Traditional Historian, Darnell has apprenticed to wise Elders who have gone before her continuing the Legacy of a unique rich matriarchal way of life. She continues to balance Tradition with today’s progressive lifestyles. Her life encompasses the knowledge of healers, ancient wise teachings and shared traditions, relating the How and Why of things in the Pikunii World View. She is a fourth generation Herbalist also known Pikunii-Ethnobotanists. Darnell and husband Smokey reside near the infamous Kipp’s Lake close to the ancient wagon road crossing Spring Hill campsite south of historic Blackfoot, Montana. Together, they operate RidesAtTheDoor consulting business. Recently they have co-authored the production of the book “People Before The Park”. Together they are Ambassadors of Goodwill to the Blackfeet Nation.


Smokey (Robert) Rides At The Door

Traditional Historian and Respected Elder, Smokey shares the balance of oral traditions of the Pikunii World View and Ways of Knowing as a teacher and mentor to all who are willing to listen, seek and honor. Storytelling skills of his Warrior grandfathers left him with a legacy to continue as time marches on. Smokey is an accomplished educator, coach, administrator, business entrepreneur, civic & tribal leader, financial ambassador, traditional caretaker of ancient teachings and bundles of the Blackfeet. Smokey has served as a board member, tribal councilman, minerals chairman, Blackfeet National Bank, Tribal Buffalo herd, the construction of a new Browning high school, influenced or developed & built better relationships at the local, county, state and international levels in education, business, and culture components. Smokey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts, with minors in History and Business.

Cary Youpee & the Magpie Singers

Cary is the drum keeper and lead singer of the Magpie Singers, a traditional drum group based in Helena. The Magpie Singers participate in sacred ceremonies, commemorations, public gatherings, and also present educational outreach in schools, libraries and other institutions.   In addition to leading the Magpie Singers, Cary is the primary organizer for the annual Last Chance Community Powwow in Helena.

About the Montana Playwrights Network

The Montana Playwrights Network provides a forum focusing on Story through a variety of formats including playwriting, storytelling, poetry, history, non-fiction, essays, and memoirs. MPN connects with writers, storytellers, educators, performers, theatre companies, libraries, book clubs, and businesses interested in the philosophy and practice of Story as a way to build communities across Montana.

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