Blackfeet 10

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

Establishing shot: Men sitting in a car parked in front of a town building waving at the camera.

Named locations:  Blackfeet Community Pre-School Special Education class (once a week), Piegan Street in Browning, MT, The Blackfeet Crafts Association, Heart Butte, Sarcee Indian Reserve.

Major themes covered: children—Blackfeet Crafts Association—tipi designer—rodeo. This video highlights the Blackfeet Crafts Association, which strived for economic independence through the sale of authentic American Indian arts and crafts.

Native activities shown:  Members of the Blackfeet Crafts Association beading and displaying various craft pieces inspired by Blackfeet culture.

Individuals Named:  Lyna Fish, James Butterfly, Terry Butterfly, Fred Horn, David Fish, Virginia Clark, Kenny Door, Billy Powell, Mary, Noris Spanish, Lloyd Heavy Runner, Clara Fish, Mickey Running Fisher

Native language spoken: Blackfoot language (Siksika)

Noteworthy elements: 

Lyna Fish instructed a Blackfeet culture class at the Blackfeet Community Pre-School during 1975 and 1976. The Community Pre-School still offers special education services to those in need within the Browning community. In the video Joe Fisher states that the special education class was held only once a week, but currently it is held 5 days a week.

One of the women in the video accredits the establishment of the Blackfeet Crafts Association to “Mrs. James Willard Schultz.” Mrs. Schultz’s full name was Jessica “Jessie” Louise Donaldson Schultz, and she was the second wife to famous adventurer and author, James Willard Schultz.

In Minnesota, on August 17, 1887 Jessica Louise Donaldson Graham was born. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1913 and earned a Bachelor of Arts. Soon after graduating she moved to Gallatin, Montana where she became a teacher for several rural schools in the area. In 1918 Graham became an Assistant Professor at Montana State University where she also became Head of the English Department. In 1930 she earned a Master of Arts in Anthropology from the University of California and a year later she married James Willard Schultz. The Schultz couple subsequently moved to Montana, where Mrs. Schultz became a Works Projects Administration (WPA) social worker on the Blackfeet reservation. The Schultz couple was very involved in studying and participating in the Blackfeet culture and community. James Schultz had already dedicated much of his life to studying Blackfeet history and culture before he married Jessica Graham, and he already had a number of books written about his experience living with the Blackfeet Tribe before their marriage as well.

In 1936 Jessica Schultz founded the Blackfeet Crafts Association and helped build a craft store in St. Mary (CDP), MT. With the store in St. Mary, Blackfeet artists could sell their arts and crafts legitimately. The Crafts Association was created to help build economic independence for Blackfeet artists, and provide venues for them to sell their art. Craft Association meetings were held at the Museum of the Plains Indian until the early 1990’s in Browning, MT. The association used to sell their work through the Arts and Craft gift store within the Museum of the Plains Indian as well. Unfortunately, the Blackfeet Craft Association is no longer active in the Blackfeet community, and the store in St. Mary CDP closed down along with the gift shop at the museum.

Mickey Running Fisher was a Blackfeet craft artist. Running Fisher was an expert at making Blackfeet style Tipis, and during the 1970’s building and selling Tipis was his main source of income. Running Fisher learned how to construct Tipis from Clara Fish, who was the grandmother to a friend of his. In Blackfeet culture women were traditionally responsible for making the home (Tipi). During the mid- 1900’s Blackfeet men started to carry the cultural knowledge of Tipi construction and began to pass down the knowledge to younger male generations. Unfortunately, due to economic disparity within Tribal Nations, Tribal members are often driven to sell their own culture (Tipis) to survive, such was the case with Mickey Running Fisher. During the recording of this video Running Fisher lived in Heart Butte CDP, Montana; today he is alive and well living in Browning, Montana. He continues to pass down traditional knowledge to Blackfeet youth and is very participant in Blackfeet community events.

Print sources:

Hanna, Warren L, and Harry C. James. The Life and Times of James Willard Schultz (Apikuni). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986.

Selected works by James Willard Schultz (7 out of the 37 published books are listed):

Schultz, James W, and George B. Grinnell. My Life as an Indian: The Story of a Red Woman and a White Man in the Lodges of the Blackfeet. New York, N.Y: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1907.

Schultz, James W. With the Indians in the Rockies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1912. 

Schultz, James W, and E B. Smith. Sinopah: The Indian Boy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1913

Schultz, James W. Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916.

Schultz, James W. Bird Woman (Sacajawea) the Guide of Lewis and Clark: Her Own Story Now First Given to the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1918.

Schultz, James W. Signposts of Adventure: Glacier National Park as the Indians Know It. Boston: New York, Houghton Mifflin Co, 1926.

Schultz, James W, and Jessie L. Donaldson. The Sun God's Children. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1930.

Website resources:

Information on Jessica Schultz.

Information on James Willard Schultz.

Information on Jessica and James Schultz.

Contains short biography of James Willard Schultz.

‘My Life as an Indian’ by James Willard Schultz (1907).


Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park’ by James Willard Schultz (1916).

The Philipsburg Mail Newspaper article, ‘James Willard Schultz, noted writer of Indian stories, came to Montana to “Kill a Buffalo’ (1939).

Webpage containing several online books by James Willard Schultz.

Webpage containing a list of written works by James Willard Schultz.

Montana Memory Project: Photography by James Willard Schultz.

Webpage containing pictures with James Willard Schultz and son (Lone Wolf).,-lone-wolf,-jim-stingly-and-johnny-ground

The Butterfly Lodge Museum webpage, dedicated to James Willard Schultz.

Web video resources:

‘James Willard Schultz –author of Blackfeet stories.’ Time = 00:03:08

--Sara Guzman, 2013