Establishing shot: Loretta Pepion facing the camera, introducing herself and the purpose of the film.
Named locations: Browning, Montana
Major themes covered: Tour of the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, Montana. This video showcases the importance of the Museum of the Plains Indian to community of Browning and the Blackfeet Tribe. The Museum verifies the significance of preserving Plains Indian history and culture within the larger context of society.
Individuals Named: Loretta Pepion (Museum Assistant), Victor Pepion (Blackfeet Muralist), Kay Taggart Gordon, Mountain Chief, Curley Bear, Frank B. Linderman (Memorial Collection), Verne Linderman, Wilda Linderman, Norma Linderman Wahler, Kim(Ken) Snider
Loretta Fisher Pepion was a museum curator at the Museum of the Plains Indian and Craft Center during the 1970’s. Here she is shown giving a tour of the Museum,. The current Acting Curator of the museum is David Dragonfly.
Victor Pepion was a Blackfeet artist known for his muralwork. He was born in Browning, Montana, in 1908. He was commissioned to paint the ‘Buffalo Hunt’ mural in the lobby of the Museum of the Plains Indian in 1941. He died in 1956, in his home state.
The Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, MT was founded by George C. Ruhle, and opened on June 29, 1941. The museum was given a Blackfeet name, Ahkeenemon, which roughly translates to, “memorial lodge to the dead chief or famous warrior of the Blackfeet of long ago.” The museum features the Craft Center which is one of the first projects developed by the Indian Arts and Craft Board (IACB) under the U.S. Department of Interior, which established avenues for Tribal Nations to sell their art. IACB created laws to protect the authenticity of Indian Arts and Crafts sales.
The diorama in the museum depicting traditional Plains Indian life was put together by ethnologist and museum curator, John Canfield Ewers. In 1941 he was hired by the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) to help design the Museum of the Plains Indian. He was a scholar of Art History; Plains Indian history and culture. During his life time he wrote numerous books about the American Plains Indian Tribes. In 1946 he worked for the Smithsonian Institute on several exhibits and program developments for the Institution. Ewers died on May 7, 1997.
In 2012 the Office of Facilities Management and Construction (OFMC), remodeled the entrance, windows and restrooms for the museum and made the museum handicap accessible.
Mountain Chief was the last hereditary chief of the Blackfoot tribes. His native name was Ninastoko, and he was born on the Old Man River, in Alberta, Canada in 1848. At the age of 18 years Ninastoko led a war against the Crow Tribe, where he permanently injured his leg. In 1866 he signed a treaty that surrendered the land East of the Sweet Grass Hills; this land later became better known as Glacier Nation Park. During his lifetime Ninastoko, signed many treaties and met with several U.S. Presidents such as, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson. Mountain Chief died on February 2, 1942 and was buried in the Browning, Montana Cemetary.
Curley Bear was a Blackfeet tribal leader born in 1845, and died in 1926. He had two wives, Minnie C. Bear and Pays for her Trouble. He had three sons: (eldest to youngest) Chas C. Bear, Philip C. Bear, and Willie C. Bear; and three daughters: (eldest to youngest) Jennie C. Bear, Maggie C. Bear, and Annie C. Bear.
Frank Bird Linderman was born September 25, 1869 in Cleveland Ohio. At the age of 16, he moved to Montana where he worked several jobs until his death on May 12, 1938. During the years of 1903-1905 he was a Montana Legislator and ran for U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate. He served as Secretary of the State in Montana from 1905-1907. Using his political influence, he helped establish the Rocky Boys Reservation for the “homeless” Cree and Chippewa Tribes. He later pursued his dream of becoming a writer and devoted his life to studying the tribes living in Montana. He was deeply embedded in learning the history and culture of the Montana tribes and became an ally to the Crow, Black feet, Cree and Chippewa. Linderman was adopted by the Blackfeet, Crow and Cree Tribes. During his lifetime he had developed a notable collection of items from the Plains Indians of Montana and the surrounding areas. After his death, Linderman’s three daughters, Wilda, Norma and Verne, preserved his collection and donated the relevant items to the Museum of the Plains Indian. During his life Linderman earned the names: ‘Iron-tooth’ from the Blackfeet; ‘Sign-Talker’ from the Crow; ‘Bird Singer’ from the Old Kootenais; and ‘Sings-like-a-bird’ from the Cree and Chippewa.
Beaded Gauntlets from the Museum Collection. Browning, Mont.] (Intersection U.S. Highways 2 and 89, Browning 59417: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Museum of the Plains Indian and Crafts Center, 1994.
Birney, Hoffman. Mountain Chief: An Indian Legend for Children. Philadelphia: The Penn Pub. Co, 1938.
Dockstader, Frederick J. Great North American Indians: Profiles in Life and Leadership. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1977.
Historic and Contemporary Plateau and Plains Cradles. Browning, Mont.] (Intersection U.S. Highways 2 and 89, Browning, 59417: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Museum of the Plains Indian and Crafts Center, 1995.
Markowitz, Harvey, and Carole A. Barrett. American Indian Biographies. Pasadena, Calif: Salem Press, 2005.
Matuz, Roger. St. James Guide to Native North American Artists. Detroit: St. James Press, 1998.
Museum of the Plains Indian, Browning, Montana. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, 1990.
Stubben, Jerry D. Native Americans and Political Participation. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2006.
Selected books by, and about, John C. Ewers:
Ewers, John C. The Horse in Blackfoot Indian Culture: With Comparative Material from Other Western Tribes. Washington: U.S. G.P.O, 1955.
Ewers, John C. The Blackfeet; Raiders on the Northwestern Plains. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958.
Ewers, John C. Artists of the Old West. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1965.
Ewers, John C. Indian Life on the Upper Missouri. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968.
Ewers, John C, and James Mooney. Murals in the Round: Painted Tipis of the Kiowa and Kiowa-Apache Indians: an Exhibition of Tipi Models Made for James Mooney of the Smithsonian Institution During His Field Studies of Indian History and Art in Southwestern Oklahoma, 1891-1904. Washington: Published for the Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine Arts by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1978.
Ewers, John C, Waldo R. Wedel, Douglas H. Ubelaker, and Herman J. Viola. Plains Indian Studies: A Collection of Essays in Honor of John C. Ewers and Waldo R. Wedel. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982.
Ewers, John C. Plains Indian Sculpture: A Traditional Art from America's Heartland. Washington, D.C: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1986.
Ewers, John C. Plains Indian History and Culture: Essays on Continuity and Change. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997. Internet resource.
Ewers, John C, and Jane E. Robinson. Plains Indian Art: The Pioneering Work of John C. Ewers. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011.
Taylor, Colin F, Hugh A. Dempsey, and John C. Ewers. The People of the Buffalo: The Plains Indians of North America: Essays in Honor of John C. Ewers. Wyk auf Foehr, Germany: Tatanka, 2003.
Selected books by, and about Frank B. Linderman:
Linderman, Frank B, and Charles M. Russell. Indian Why Stories: Sparks from War Eagle's Lodge-Fire. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1915.
Linderman, Frank B. On a Passing Frontier: Sketches from the Northwest. New York: C. Scribner, 1920.
Linderman, Frank B. Bunch-grass and Blue-Joint. New York: C. Scribner's sons, 1921.
Linderman, Frank B. Lige Mounts: Free Trapper. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1922.
Linderman, Frank B. American: The Life Story of a Great Indian, Plenty-Coups, Chief of the Crows. New York: John Day Co, 1930.
Linderman, Frank B. Pretty-shield, Medicine Woman of the Crows. New York: John Day Co, 1972 c. 1932.
Linderman, Frank B, and Winold Reiss. Blackfeet Indians. St. Paul: Printed by Brown & Bigelow, 1935.
Linderman, Frank B, and H G. Merriam. Montana Adventure: The Recollections of Frank B. Linderman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1968.
Linderman, Frank B. Old Man Coyote (crow). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.
Linderman, Frank B. Indian Old-Man Stories: More Sparks from War Eagle's Lodge-Fire. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.
Linderman, Frank B, and Celeste River. Kootenai Why Stories. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997.
Linderman, Frank B. Henry Plummer: A Novel. Lincoln, Neb: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
Official webpage for the town of Browning, MT. Museum of the Plains Indian.
U.S. Department of Interior: Indian Arts & Craft Board official webpage.
Information on Museum of the Plains Indian
Friends of the Museums of the Plains Indian: projects and events
Brief description of the Museum of the Plains Indian.
Montana’s cultural treasures: Museum of the Plains Indian
Museum of the Plains Indian Blackfeet artist exhibit.
Blackfeet heritage center; Museum of the Plains Indian.
Indian Country digital archives
Museum of the Plains Indian funding issues.
Article from the Western Journal of Communication, ‘”Just listen”: “Listening and landscape among the Blackfeet.’
Article from American Antiquity, ‘Ceramic affiliations in the Northwestern Plains,’ discusses the archeological significance of the pottery collection at the Museum of the Plains Indian.
Smithsonian Institute National Anthropological Archives: The papers of John Canfield Ewers (collection).
Biography: John C. Ewers.
‘Hair Pipes in Plains Indian adornment,’ by John C. Ewers; Smithsonian Institute.
Partially digitized book by John C. Ewers, ‘The Blackfeet: Raiders on the Northwestern Plains.’
‘Painted Tipi’s of the Blackfeet Indians,’ by John C. Ewers.
Works by John C. Ewers.
‘Plains Indian reactions to the Lewis and Clark expedition,’ by John C. Ewers.
Partially digitized book, ‘The Blackfoot Papers Volume 1 of 4.’
Partially digitized book, ‘More than curiosities: A grassroots history of the Indian Arts and Craft Board and it’s precursors, 1920-1942.’
Partially digitized book, ‘Census of the Blackfeet: Montana, 1897-1898.’
Blackfeet genealogy: Mountain Chief.
Great Fall Tribune: Frank B. Linderman profile.
Guide to the Frank B. Linderman collection.
Brief Frank B. Linderman biography.
Montana Hall of Fame: Frank B. Linderman
Information on the current Acting Curator of the Museum of the Plains Indian: David Dragonfly.
Web video resources
‘Museum of the Plains Indian.’
‘Plains Indian Museum.’
Crosslist of Other AIFG Films
Blackfeet 07: http://www.aifg.arizona.edu/film/blackfeet-07
--Sara Guzman, 2013