Blackfeet 06

unknown; cinematographer Wayne Many Guns
Production Date: 
Run Time: 

Establishing shot:Four children stand in a crowd while a man tries to erect the American flag behind them.

Named locations:
Major themes covered:
This video highlights several guest speakers from the Blackfeet Nation at the Native American Days celebration, 1976.
Native activities shown: Drumming and singing during the raising of the American Flag Ceremony.

Individuals Named:  Victor Short Chief, Governor Tom Judge, Frances Potts (WWII Veteran), Florence Williamson (WWII Veteran), Minnie England (WWII Veteran), Tom Tailfeathers (Vietnam Veteran), Louie Fish (son of Chief Wolf Robe), Joan Kennerly (daughter of Frances Bull Shoe), Earl Old Person, Anson Baker (Agency Superintendent), Leo Kennerly Jr. (Director of Economic Development & Candidate for State Legislature), Gordon Velcourt (Director of Tribal Health Department), Alan Whitegrass
Native language spoken: Louie Fish is shown and heard giving a prayer in the Blackfoot language (Siksika); Algonquian.
Noteworthy elements:  In 1975, the Montana Legislature enacted House Joint Resolution No. 57, allocating the  fourth Friday of every September as ‘Native American Day.’ In 1997, Senate Bill 117 was introduced which amended the ‘Act Designating the fourth Friday in September of each year as “American Indian Heritage Day,” in the State of Montana; amending section 20-1-501 MCA, and providing an immediate effective date.’ The Montana Legislature amended American Indian Heritage day to be a commemorative day which all Montana districts must recognize.

Thomas Lee Judge was born in Lewis and Clark County, Helena, Montana on October 12, 1934. He was elected the 18th Governor in the State of Montana from January 1, 1973 through January 5, 1981. In 1957 he earned a Bachelor of Journalism Degree from the University of Notre Dame, and soon after received his Master of Business Degree from the University of Louisville in 1960. At this time Thomas Judge also graduated from the Adjutant General School in Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, where he gained leadership practice as a Second Lieutenant of the U.S. Army and Captain of the U.S. Army Adjutant General Corps. These roles eventually led him into the political playing field where from 1961-1967 he was a member of the Montana State House of Representatives, and a member of the Montana State Senate from 1967-1969. From 1969-1973 he was the Lieutenant Governor of Montana and shortly after, became Governor. Judge was most known for being a Democratic leader who invested a great deal of time and energy into environmental issues. He was responsible for implementing the ‘Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA)’ and the ‘Major Facility Siting Act.’ On September 8, 2006, Thomas Lee Judge passed away, he was the youngest Governor elected in Montana State history.

Tom Tailfeathers was a Blackfeet tribal member who served in the U.S. Army during the war in Vietnam. Although he is not shown in this video, Tom Tailfeathers is mentioned as being one of the Veterans being honored during the raising of the Flag Ceremony.

Louis (Louie) Fish, was the son of Fish Wolf Robe and Marry Jane Berry Woman. He was born in 1914 on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana. He had a younger brother and sister by the names of, Peter Fish and Mary Anna Fish. Louis Fish later married Emma Bertha Fish and they had 9 children together.

Fish Wolf Robe was a crier at Sundance Ceremonies, and often was an announcer at Powwow gatherings in the Blackfeet community. He worked at Glacier Nation Park as an entertainer of sorts. His father was Wolf Eagle. Wolf Robe was married to a Cree woman named Lone Petrified, and together they had 13 children, including Louis Fish.

Chief Earl Old Person was born in 1929 in Starr School CDP. Beside his English name, he also has two Blackfeet names. When he was an infant his grandfather Medicine Bear, gave him the name ‘Achkyahbahgaybhee’ (Charging Home). The name refers to the act of a warrior coming home from war. The other name was self-imposed when he was just a child; he called himself, ‘Stohsahpoh’ (Cold Wind). For most of his childhood, ‘Stohsahpoh’ and his family lived in Starr School. Old Person is perhaps the most widely known American Indian elder alive today. In 1936, Old Person graduated from Browning High School and soon after started working for The Museum of the Plains Indian. In 1953 he started to work with the Land Department, and also became the official interpreter for the Blackfeet Nation. At the age of 25, he was elected as a member of the Tribal Business Council where he served the council for over 40 years. In 1977 Old Person was Chairman during the reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and a year later he was elected as the lifetime Chief of the Blackfeet Nation. Old Person is still alive and active in his community. Among his contributions to the Blackfeet tribe, he has been involved in the continuous struggle to fight for water rights on the Blackfeet reservation, he helped establish a hospital for his community, and is fighting to get a claim settlement for the Sweetgrass Hills Treaty of 1888.

Starr School is a Census Designated Place (CDP) in Glacier County, Montana. It is 4.08 Square miles, at an elevation of 4,664 ft. The current population density is 62 people per square mile. Star School CDP is located just NW of the town of Browning. Approximately 98% of the population is American Indian, while the other 2% are either of Anglo or Hispanic descent. In 2000, the U.S. Census documented 248 people, 61 households, and 58 families residing in Starr School CDP. The community of Starr School has been reported to be living under the poverty line and unemployment rates are below average. The CDP of Starr School is not part of the Blackfeet reservation. CDP’s cannot cross the boundaries of American Indian Reservations, American Indian Trust Lands, or Tribal Jurisdiction Statistical Areas. CDP’s are geographic areas used by the U.S. Census Bureau for statistical analysis and various data formulation.

Leo Kennerly Jr., was a democratic Montana State Legislator elected in 1976. His tribal name was Red Eagle. He was the Director of Economic Development for the Blackfeet Nation during the latter part of the 1970’s. During his lifetime, Red Eagle was responsible for a variety of land use plans, such as the development of parks and recreational areas; one in particular was the Chewing Blackbones Campground. In 1981 Leo Kennerly Jr. passed away.

Print sources

Bryan, William L., and Michael Crummett. Montana's Indians: Yesterday and Today. Helena, Mont: Montana Magazine, 1985.

Hungry-Wolf, Adolf. Blackfoot Papers Volumes 1-4.

1980 Census of Population: Population and Households for Census Designated Places, 1980. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1981.

Website resources:

“Idea Manual.” Document on Blackfeet culture, history and activities during NAID.


Government document: Senate Bill 117


Information on Governor Thomas Judge. Brief biographical descriptions on U.S. politicians.


Information on Montana political leaders.


History of Montana Governors: Thomas Judge.


Preliminary information on Governor Thomas Judge.


Images of Thomas Judge: Grave site.


Los Angeles Times article, ‘Thomas Judge, 71; pushes clean-air laws as Montana’s Governor.’


The Montana Standard article, ‘Former governor dies,’ regarding Thomas Judge.


Helena, MT; Independent Record article, ‘Horse Sense – Remembering Tom Judge.’


Great Falls Tribune article, ‘Former Gov. Tom Judge laid to rest.’


Information on the ‘Environmental Policy Act,’ implemented by Tom Judge.


A Guide to the Montana Environmental Policy Act.


Montana Environmental Information Center webpage.


Montana environmental conservation.


SB 233; amendments to the Environmental Policy Act.


Montana Department of Environmental Quality; Keystone XL Pipeline (Major Facility Siting Act).


Guide to the Montana Major Facility Siting Act.


Montana Historical Society Archives.


List of American Indian Montanan Veterans.


National Archives. Documents concerning Tom Tailfeathers.


Brief family history on Louis Fish.


Information on Louise Fish’s wife, Emma Bertha Fish.


Blackfoot Digital Library: Fish Wolf Robe (images included).


Partially digitized book, ‘Blackfoot Papers Volume 4.’ Pikunni (Blackfeet) Biographies, history and culture.


Great Falls Tribune: Earl Old Person.


‘Missoulian’ article on Earl Old Person and the 40th Annual Kyi-Yo powwow.


Great Fall Tribune article, ‘Blackfeet Chief seeks museum for treasure.’


Portland State University: Earl Old Person.


Indian Country News regarding Earl Old Person.


Partially digitized book, ‘Montana’s Indians: Yesterday and today.


Starr School CDP


United States Census, statistical areas, CDP’s.


Geographic Areas Reference Manuals.


Government document regarding Anson Baker.


Web video resources =

‘Barack Obama “Native American Day” Billings Montana.’ Time = 00:00:42


‘MSU Native American Heritage Day 2011.’ Time = 00:01:39


‘No Country for Old Person.’ Time = 00:06:27


‘Days of the Blackfeet: Introduction by Earl Old Person.’ Time = 00:08:39


Cross-references to other AIFG Films:

Blackfeet 01

Blackfeet 02

Blackfeet 03

Blackfeet 04

Blackfeet 05

Blackfeet 07

Blackfeet 08

Blackfeet 09

Blackfeet 10

Blackfeet 11

Blackfeet 12

Blackfeet 13

Blackfeet 14


--Sara Guzman, 2013