ummer is a time of celebration in Blackfeet Country, bracketed on one end in July by North American Indian Days and at the other end in August by Heart Butte Indian Days. By far the more traditional and intimate of the two events, HBID takes place in the mountain community of Heart Butte and runs four days, from Thursday, Aug. 8, to Sunday, Aug. 11.
It all starts with Blackfeet Youth Day, which is celebrated all day Wednesday, Aug. 7, beginning at 8 a.m. with rides, prizes and events for all the young people of Blackfeet Country.
Heart Butte Indian Days officially begins on Thursday, with the first Grand Entry set for 7 p.m. in the Dance Arbor. There, folks will hear announcers Jay St. Goddard and Gayle Skunkcap Jr., as well as emcee Earl Old Person and Arena Directors Tim Weaselhead and Clarence Comes At Night. This year’s Royalty includes Jr. Princess Chayden Bullchild, Princess Mariah Posey, Queen Audrey Sure Chief and Tiny Tot Princess Arena St. Goddard. The Princess Pageant Crowning will be held immediately following Thursday’s Grand Entry. The Youth 3-on-3 Basketball tournament will also be running on Thursday.
Friday starts out with the CHR Breakfast in the morning; then folks will move out to mile marker 85 on U.S. Highway 89 for the Minnie Spotted Wolf highway dedication. She was the first woman Native American Marine, and the 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. event features state and tribal dignitaries who will officially name a stretch of highway after her.
The 1 p.m. Grand Entry on Friday marks the start of points being awarded to the contest dancers while the contest drummers will be scored beginning with the 7 p.m. Grand Entry.
Saturday starts early with the Warrior Race at 8 a.m., where runners will race to Twin Lakes, then swim across the lake and return to Heart Butte by bike. Then it’s parade time as the color guard, floats and riders make their way through Heart Butte’s neighborhoods at 11 a.m. Grand Entry is delayed until 2 p.m. so the parade folk can prepare, and the evening Grand Entry is set for 7 p.m. There are many honorings and giveaways slated throughout the celebration, and the concession stands will be open all day every day.
Things begin to wrap up on Sunday, beginning with the Catholic Mass at 10 a.m. Grand Entry is at 1 p.m., and the annual Crazy Dogs vs. Veterans Stick Game starts during the break. The final Grand Entry for this year will be at 7 p.m.