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Dedication of Missoula’s Beartracks Bridge underway

Beartracks Bridge Dedication
Beartracks Bridge Dedication.jpg
Beartracks Bridge Sign
Posted at 7:46 AM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 16:15:30-04

MISSOULA - It's a recognition that has been years in the making.

Missoula's Beartracks Bridge, formerly known as the Higgins Avenue Bridge, will be officially dedicated Monday capping off a major collaboration.

The US government forcibly removed tribal ancestors from their land back in 1891 and in the "Salish Trail of Tears," they passed through what is now known as Missoula.

Watch video of Monday's dedication ceremony of the Beartracks Bridge below.

RAW VIDEO: Beartracks Bridge Dedication in Missoula

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Culture Committee, Missoula city and county officials and the Montana Department of Transportation collaborated over the course of bridge construction to change the name from Higgins to Beartracks Bridge in honor of the tribal ancestors.

Watch below as CSKT elders and tribal members make their way across the Beartracks Bridge during Monday's dedication ceremony.

WEB EXTRA: CSKT elders and tribal members cross the Beartracks Bridge

"We have always been here. And I think that we are making sure that the people of Missoula -- a lot of the new residents, even people that have lived here their whole lives -- don't really know the history,” CSKT Tribal Council Secretary Martin Charlo noted, "We want to acknowledge it and heal from it, the past, and move forward."

Martin Charlo
Martin Charlo

Monday marks Indigenous Peoples' Day, and CSKT elders and members will take part in a procession along the same route. The dedication starts at 12:30 on the south end of the bridge followed by a celebration at Caras Park.

The official dedication of the Beartracks Bridge means there will be some changes for drivers making their way around downtown Missoula. The ceremony will require road closures from about 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Beartracks Bridge Road Closure Map

MTN News will have complete coverage of Monday’s ceremony.