In the 1980s, Ravalli County Museum Director Erma Owings started the first Bitter Root Day, celebrating the Montana State Flower and also recognizing the Native American culture of the past in the Bitterroot Valley. This year, the 41st Bitter Root Day will be Saturday, June 12, at the museum on the corner of South 3rd and Bedford in Hamilton.

The cultural aspect is again highlighted this year at Bitter Root Day with Salish Drummers and Dancers from the Flathead Reservation. The singing, dancing and drumming will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the lawn of the museum. Executive Director Michelle Nowling has also planned the erection of a tipi. She said, "The Salish are the native tribe for the Bitterroot Valley. This is their homeland. And, we have Bitter Root Day and celebrate not only the plant itself, but but also its connection to the Salish - that it was major source of food and lore for them, which is one of the reason it became the State Flower. It was connected to the Native tribes, so we invite the Salish down to celebrate that."

There will be free admission to the museum, too, with their featured Glacial Lake Missoula display. Organizers say there over 100 vendors in the surrounding Farmers Market area on South 3rd, South 2nd and Bedford, with arts, crafts, fresh produce and food. There is more information about the vendors at the Ravalli County Museum Facebook page. The museum will also have Bitter Root seeds for sale, so you can keep spreading the State Flower throughout Montana. The museum's weekly Saturday kids' activity hours at 10 a.m. will be the creation of braided friendship bracelets this week. The event is sponsored by Humanities Montana, Three Chiefs Cultural Center, Jane S. Heman Foundation, Trail West Bank, Big League Builders and the Montana Arts Council. You can find out more at the museum's website.

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