Harold Dean Thomas

Harold Dean Thomas was born on April 21, 1938, in Browning, Mont., and passed away on April 23, 2020, in Browning. Harold was a member of the Piikani, the Blackfeet Nation. He was the grandson of Chief Wades in the Water and Julia Wades in the Water. He was the son of George and Jeanette Pepion Thomas, and he was the brother of Charles, Donald, Mae, Dorothy, Rita and an infant sister, all who he joins on the other side. 

He is survived by his brother, Leland Thomas.

Harold was the husband of Donna Rae for 28 years, and now they are together again forever. He was the father of eight sons: Donald Thomas, Todd Thomas, Darwin Long Fox, Michael Peters, George Albert, David (Hoss) Thomas, Brian Thomas and Dusty.

Harold was the grandfather of Anthony Thomas, Christopher Thomas, Ramona (Monie) Westergen, Harold (TJ) Thomas, Teagan Thomas and Elizabeth Cuff, and he was the great grandfather of Jayden Thomas, Chris Thomas, Tayah Westergren, Aurora Peters and Jack Yuhas. Harold was an uncle and a friend to many.

Harold was a welder for Todd’s Shipyards for 26 years and a member of the Boilermakers Labor Union. One of his sons is named after this shipyard. He was a Veteran, where he served in the US Army for six years. Harold was a great storyteller. His stories were a link between this generation and the Old Ones now gone. Harold was a drum maker, a cradleboard maker, and he and his sister, Rita, taught many how to make Indian crafts at Pathfinders school.

Harold was a great cook; he was a natural. Harold was an avid fisherman and a hunter. He taught his boys how to fish on the docks of Puget Sound, and then they taught their own. And at many barbeques yet to be, there will be many Browning, Mont., hunting stories told by his boys and grandsons.

Harold is now one of the Old Ones gone. But the memories of his lifetime remain in us all.

He wrote the following about drums.



Our Indian Elders symbolized the hand drum as a sacred source of power. Our Indian Elders used the Drum’s powers before they went into battle or on a Buffalo hunt; they used the Drum’s powers when a member of the family was sick or needed healing. Sometimes the Drum was just for happiness and enjoyment. 

Our Elders believed its great power and mystical voice to be able to call on the Great Spirit in all the sacred ceremonies. The drum was used when the Indian people smoked the Sacred Pipe, as well as along with the burning of the Sacred Sweetgrass and Sacred Sage. The Drum was used in the Sweatlodges as a part of the purification of the soul. The Drum was also used at the burial of an Indian to send him on his way to the Happy Hunting Ground and into the heart and teepee of the Great Spirit. 

At times when you feel alone or need a little spiritual uplift or happiness, you can always listen to the voice of your Drum.

Today what you are creating should come from your heart and your soul. When you are finished and are able to look back to this day filled with your creative talent, you will have a feeling of warmth as you remember this very special pay in your life.

If you choose to paint your Drum, it should be a painting that has a meaning. This can be a story told to you by your parents or grandparents, or something very special that has happened in your life, or someone close to you. It can be a dream, a vision, something of great beauty for you, or something that brought happiness to you. So when you look upon what you created, or when you hear its voice, you will be able to understand it and be able to feel it in your heart and soul. It is part of you.

The step you should now take is to learn to use your Drum, the Drum you created. So when you pick up your drumsticks and hear the voice of your creation, you will be able to understand the voice of your Drum. The songs you sing with your friends, parents or grandparents will bring a happy and warm feeling to the ones you love. The songs will bring a Spiritual feeling to your home and for those who have gone before you to the Great Spirit’s Happy Hunting Ground.

The Drum’s presence and Voice in your teepee or your home should always be felt and cherished.

Take care of me for I am part of your Life and your Heart and your Soul.

You Created Me.

The One Spirit,

Your Drum.