GR_N4

July

Jay Dusty Bull and his family honored the medical staff at Blackfeet Community Hospital for having saved his life following a heart attack. Several people received gifts of blankets and cups from Jay Dusty Bull at Blackfeet Community Hospital last week, including Physician Assistant Jade Whitsell who was moved by the gesture.

Councilman Roland Kennerly Jr. and folks from the Blackfeet Blackfeet Tourism, Parks & Recreation - and local young people - were on hand to welcome Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam. Thunder Park was built in the summer of 2014 by Billie Coulon of Evergreen Skateparks through a foundation funded by Jeff Ament. Every summer Ament and Coulon come through to visit the park and the people of Blackfeet Country.

A diverse group of community members and visitors gathered for the annual Glacier National Park Blessing ceremony. The Blessing ceremony demonstrated how reciprocal relationships, founded in respect, will continue to grow through the generations. Acknowledging Blackfeet presence in the Park bolstered this relationship and reflected the common goals of the Tribe and the Park to appreciate and care for this magnificent landscape.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded its 100th grant to Montana State University and the Blackfeet Nation to develop best practices in natural resource management, climate adaptation and water governance that are consistent with Amskapi Piikani cultural values. Montana State University, along with the Blackfeet Nation and other Blackfeet Nation partners, have provided matching funds for a total project investment of $2 million. 

Hundreds of Veterans turned out for the annual powwow amid impending rainstorms. To put it together, the folks at Manpower conducted community events and fundraisers, and engaged some financial partners. There were a dozen drums at the event, growing to 14 at the second Grand Entry.

Blackfeet Child Support Enforcement received the National Award for Tribal Child Support Programs for the “Outstanding Tribe Award.” It was awarded for demonstrating outstanding leadership and willingness to help Tribes everywhere ensure that the needs of children have been met. This was the second year in a row that the program has received national recognition, winning the Lucille Dawson Award for Professional Excellence last year.

Jennifer Wagner was named principal of Browning High School, complimented by a pair of assistant principals - Kari McKay and Bill Huebsch. The pair of APs would help manage behavior issues in athletics, as well as focusing on attendance, being trauma informed and meeting with parents. In addition, BHS now sports four counselors and a therapeutic counselor, instead of the three counselors the school previously employed.

Glenn Koster’s walking sojourn from Miami Beach, Florida, to Washington State, brought him through Browning, bringing awareness of adoption and foster care to folks and groups along the way. He intentionally chose to make the trip as difficult as possible to reflect the troubles adopted children have in life.

Council Members Chairman Davis and Carl Kipp, along with Chief of Police Jess Edwards, recognized Sarah Wolf Tail of Blackfeet Homeland Security, Frank Goings of Blackfeet Law Enforcement and Charley Wolf Tail of Blackfeet Law Enforcement. They were presented with individual awards from Office of Inspector General for outstanding recognition in successfully investigating and convicting a dangerous sexual predator from the Indian Health Service.

August

Out near the Durham Road, repair crews uncovered the main water line connecting Lower Two Medicine Lake with its customers in Browning. A 10-foot break was re-paired using special collars with embedded copper wires that electrically fuse the collar to the pipe.

The Minnie Spotted Wolf Memorial Highway was dedicated on U.S. 89. It was dedicated to the memory of Minnie Spotted Wolf, the first Native American woman to have joined the Marine Corps. Montana Sen. Susan Webber and others said that when they looked into the topic of naming highways they discovered nearly all had been named for men, and not one had been named for a Native American woman. That all changed in August.

Individuals, producers and organizations met to discuss the Blackfeet Agricultural Resource Management Plan in the conference room at Glacier Peaks Hotel. Loren Birdrattler was on hand to emcee the event that was attended by the Blackfeet Natural Resource Conservation District, Blackfeet ARMP InterDisciplinary Team, the National Center for Appropriate Technology and other stakeholders.

In dedication ceremonies, Browning High School’s new principal, Jennifer Wagner, recognized all those who worked toward building a sports complex that not only upgrades existing facilities, but also creates room for new sports like soccer. And the staff at Browning Middle School stood together to demonstrate their commitment to the school district’s plans for a new gym and cafeteria at BMS.

September

The Blackfeet Food Distribution Program hosted a training called “Be a Nutrition Leader” at the Glacier Peaks Casino’s conference room. Mara Yborra, Nutrition Educator for the United Tribes Technical College, facilitated the two-day event that covered many topics for food distribution reps coming not only from Blackfeet Country, but also from tribes in North and South Dakota.

The Iinnii Initiative gave away $6,000 to local entrepreneurs at Medicine Spring Library in the 1st annual Buffalo Tank. A version of the popular TV show Shark Tank, Buffalo Tank was the result of the Business Planning workshop that was sponsored by the Iinnii Initiative to promote Eco-tourism.

There were 150+ participants at the first annual Suicide Awareness Fun Run/Walk and Memorial for Alvin DeRoche. A community feed was put on by the DeRoche family at the stick game arbor.

October

Acting Blackfeet Chairman Iliff “Scott” Kipp declared a state of emergency in light of an early season snowstorm, allowing the Tribe to put a plan of action in place. Robert DesRosier, head of the Tribe’s Department of Homeland Security, was named Incident Commander. He was joined by a representative from the Montana DES, the Blackfeet Fire Cache, Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife and other entities to deal with rescues and medical issues.

The Stick Game building was filled with informational booths and people ready to talk to the public about law enforcement issues in Blackfeet Country. According to Christy Horn, Blackfeet Tribal Court Administrator, this year’s event was the third such to have been held and marked an expansion over previous years. Only nine programs were represented the first year while some 32 participated this time around.

Blackfeet Community College played host to a pair of related events, beginning with a two-day Tribunal that gathered testimonies on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women at the Southwind Lodge, and continued the first day with an informational seminar on Human Trafficking in the Student Commons.

Bob Tailfeathers and Browning Public School personnel were greeted with a huge pile of school supplies, coats and scarves donated by a New Jersey mom and daughter. They stayed with Tailfeathers while working with the Global Volunteers and were inspired to hold a drive for the donation.

November

Ted Hall is organizing the second Buy-Back outreach under Mark Magee of the Blackfeet Land Department. Six outreach specialists are handling the effort, and prospective sellers may see offers coming their way by late fall.

Ty Vaile was named INFR Junior Breakaway Roping World Champion, having roped three calves in 7.69 total seconds, winning both average and year-round scores. In addition, he made it into the National Junior High Finals in South Dakota last June.

A representative from the U.S. Attorney’s Office came to Browning and conducted a training session on the national database people can use to help identify and find missing persons, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).

Smoke containing unknown materials blanketed the downwind skies across BIA Route 1 as the “old pencil factory” burned in high winds. Law enforcement blocked the route as firefighters worked to contain the blaze, preventing motorists from inhaling potentially dangerous chemicals.

The Blackfeet T-HIP program began renovating the old CPS building and Bingo Hall to promote health and prevent disease. R Construction is doing the work, which is part of a “three-tier” program headed up by the Tribal Health Improvement Program. In Tier 1, the focus is on moving into the new building that is larger and  more centrally located and establishing staffing for the program. They hope to move into Tier 2 in 2020 and focus on areas that contribute to health disparities.

Miss Blackfeet Alia Heavy Runner traveled to Washington, DC, and participated in the Blackfeet Festival at the Museum of American Indian. She gave a speech about the Blackfeet Tribe. She greeted everyone and offered a message of resilience and identity to both Native American and non-Native Americans that attended. Miss Blackfeet stressed the importance of education to the crowd.

Folks visited the Stick Game Building to honor Officer Veldon Calica while the nearby Museum of the Plains Indian parking lot filled with fire trucks, law enforcement and Border Patrol vehicles awaiting his funeral procession.

During a full-day retreat at the State Capitol, youth leaders – including a pair from Browning - met with Governor and First Lady Bullock, learned about food insecurity in Montana, participated in leadership development and project management training, and began planning projects to address childhood hunger during Fight Childhood Hunger Week, April 13-19, 2020.

December

About 30 people gathered at the Women’s Club in East Glacier for a celebration hosted by the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance to commemorate the recent retirement of an oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area.

Drifting snow and icy roads closed schools, businesses, Blackfeet Community College and kept some Tribal workers home on Dec. 2. Although Glacier County had front end loaders working at East Glacier Park during the snowstorm, the streets nonetheless filled in with snow making it tough for anything but vehicles with four-wheel-drive and high clearance.

Loren BirdRattler, a member of the Blackfeet Nation who coordinated the country’s first in-house indigenous agricultural resource management plan, was appointed the Montana State University Katz Endowed Chair in Native American Studies.

Residential customers of Blackfeet Solid Waste found they can expect to see their bills increase by $5 to $10 per month, with real revenue coming from businesses which will see larger increases. The rates are not set by Solid Waste but by the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and an organization called “Rates of America,” who together assess water and trash to determine the rates charged.

Mike Dalton, Rate Analyst for the Montana Public Service Commission, said a legal notice appearing in the Glacier Reporter sets the stage for 3 Rivers Communications to sell its assets in the 338- exchange to Siyeh Development Corp., thereby ending those customers’ membership in the cooperative.

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