Blackfeet 09

unknown; camera, Wayne Many Guns, Joe Fisher
Production Date: 
Run Time: 

Establishing shot: Two tribal elders making announcements at a Powwow.
Named locations: Heart Butte CDP, Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Major themes covered: Singing and dancing. This video was recorded by two Blackfeet youths who are mentioned by the Powwow announcer in the film. Wayne Many Guns and Joe Fisher were young Blackfeet men who took it upon themselves to document the history and culture present on the Blackfeet reservation during the mid to late 1970’s.

Native activities shown:  Blackfoot tribal members dancing the Circle Dance and/or Round Dance (more commonly known as the “Squ*w” dance). The Heart Butte singers playing at a Powwow.

Individuals Named: Bill Darlander, Jim White Calf, Ruby Hall (one of the winning dancers of NAID and winning contestant of Miss Browning Montana), The Heart Butte Singers, Mr. & Mrs. James Weatherfree, Mr. Buffalo

Native language spoken: Blackfoot language (Siksika; Algonquian)

Noteworthy elements: 

Heart Butte, Montana is a Census Designated Place (CDP). A CDP is a geographic area usually without any municipal government, and does not follow the laws and policies of the state in which they are located. CDP’s typically have dense populations and cover small areas within a state. The U.S. Census Bureau uses CDP population and land for statistical analysis. CDP areas are not considered “Incorporated Places” defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Incorporated Places are towns, villages, or cities that have a system of government. Although CDP areas seem to be viewed as towns, villages or small cities, they do not have a system of government recognized by the U.S, therefore they are not incorporated in American Society, and are categorized as CDP. The CDP of Heart Butte, MT, is 4.5 square miles, and was last recorded to have a population of 582 people as of the year 2010. The majority of people living in Heart Butte are of American Indian descent, and about half of the population lives under the poverty line. Heart Butte is located 30.8 miles southeast of Browning, MT on the Blackfeet Reservation.

Jim White Calf was the son of James White Calf (father) and Catches-for-Nothing (mother). Jim’s great grandfather was White Calf, the last great hereditary Chief of the Piegan Blackfeet Tribe. James White Calf had four wives and several children however, Jim was the only child he had with Catches-for-Nothing. James White Calf was born in 1865 in the Blackfeet Nation. Jim White Calf’s exact birth year is unknown, however research suggests he would have been born sometime in the early 1900’s, around the year 1915. Jim grew up on the Blackfeet reservation in Heart Butte CDP, Montana. He later grew to be a highly respected elder in the Blackfeet community and was very involved in keeping the Blackfeet culture alive.

Print sources:

Hungry-Wolf, Adolf. The Blackfoot Papers Volume 4: Pikunni Biographies. The Good Medicine Cultural Foundation, Skookumchuck, B.C. 2006.

Website resources:

Official webpage for the U.S. Census Bureau (CDP information).

Fact Finder; U.S. Census Bureau (Heart Butte statistics).

Information on Heart Butte, MT.

The Official webpage to the Heart Butte School (K-12).

This webpage contains several pictures of Montana, including images of Heart Butte and Browning.

Information about a recorded album by the Heart Butte Singers.

Partially digitized book, ‘Blackfoot Papers: Pikunni Biographies Volume 4.’ Contains information on White Calf, James White Calf and Jim Whit Calf.

Contains a list of Blackfeet people to help trace geneaology.

Information on James White Calf

Web video resources:

‘Powwow in Heart Butte MT! 2013 001.’ Time = 00:04:39

‘Powwow in Heart Butte MT! 2013 002.’ Time = 00:05:07

‘Powwow in Heart Butte MT! 2013 003.’ Time = 00:04:23

‘Powwow in Heart Butte MT! 2013 004.’ Time = 00:04:04

‘Powwow in Heart Butte MT! 2013 005.’ Time = 00:03:58

‘Powwow in Heart Butte MT! 2013 006.’ Time = 00:03:08

--Sara Guzman, 2013