These are notes for a vernacular history, not battles and big-shots. In the Fifies, it didn’t seem anything was changing, but small changes have had big outcomes later. For instance, the students of this period include Darrell Kipp, a leader in the movement to save NA languages along with Dorothy Still Smoking, and Eloise Cobell, who finally took on the US Government and forced them to admit and make reparations for a century of embezzlement of Indian trust funds. Pan-Indian connections -- indeed, bi-tribal marriages! -- were formed through the federal vocational and industrial schools, relocation created roots for AIM in urban ghettoes, and the first college graduates were receiving their degrees. Old racist fears were rekindled by the polio epidemic. Many men were serving in Korea. Basic American services like street lights and television were reaching the rez. The highway department was obsessed with the idea of building a shortcut that would by-pass Browning and a red/white coalition prevented that. (MDOT hasn’t forgotten.)
These notes are from the Glacier Reporter.
October 6, 1950
Glaciers of the Park have been in recession since 1890.
Nov. 17, 1950
Parent struck teacher.
Jan 5, 1951
Elevation of Browning changed from 4,400 to 4,360.
January 12, 1951
Korean war letters from Webber, Brown and Kuka. Very graphic.
January 19, 1951
Filming “The Thing” by Cut Bank.
March 2, 1951
The dramatic story of Calvin Last Star’s braids. He joined the service and went to boot camp knowing that his 2 foot long braids would be cut. They were cut intact and sent home.
Dick Sanderville’s death.
March 30, 1951
Last Star assisting in the filming of Sun Dance.
Etumoe (school newspaper) begs for new high school.
April 6, 1951
Iliff McKay appointed to succeed James Welch who resigned as treasurer of Tribal Council. [This is James Welch Sr., the father of the novelist.]
July 13, 1951
Very wet. June: 5.62 in 48 -- 10.14 in 51. 64 inches of snow.
November 23, 1951
Death Claims Green Grass Bull. Green Grass Bull in youth was a famous warrior. In old age he earned his living by delivering water from barrels on a rickety old wagon followed by a devoted but assorted pack of dogs.
Jan. 4, 1952
Still Smoking awarded a bronze star.
Big blizzard -- 236 inches of snow so far.
Jan 11, 1952
(In 1951 there had been 13 local Indian scholarships)
Four are attending college:
Eugene Running Wolf at State University
Robert Madman at State College at Bozeman
Mae Running Wolf and Connie Pepion at Northern Montana
Jan 18, 1952
The plows are overwhelmed.
Feb. 22, 1952
Malcolm Clarke Services Yesterday. 42, died in Bremerton, WA. Widow: Juanita, several step-children, sister is Mrs. Judge in Cut Bank.
Bond issue for new high school has passed.
Calvin Last Star received a Bronze Star.
August 8, 1952
Mrs. Theodore Last Star Passes
Mrs. Theodore Last Star, well-known member of the Glacier Park Hotel Indian troupe, died peacefully at her home west of Browning on July 16. Funeral services were held at the Methodist Church July 19, with the Rev. Edgar B. Smith officiating. The meditation theme was taken from the Blackfeet motto “Motokit ki Asakimat.” The church was filled with friends from several states and a delegation from Glacier Park Hotel. Interment was in the Methodist Mission Cemetary.
October 3, 1952
George Montgomery and Dinah Shore are in Heart Butte to see about a movie. Francis Bullshoe and one hundred warriors will be in it.
October 10, 1952
E. Glacier gets telephones.
Browning gets street lights.
January 9, 1953
Polio shuts everything down
June 19, 1953
The new high school is being plastered.
Jun 10, 1953
George Montgomery and son are here for rodeo.
Sept. 18, 1953
Winold Reiss Dies.
Oct. 30, 1953
First TV sets arrive in Browning.
February 19, 1954
Termination talk. [Eisenhower was much in favor of closing down all reservations.]
March 26, 1954
KFBB comes online but though many gather at Fitzgerald’s in front of a TV set, there is only the faintest reception.
Talk of the highway bypass again.
June 4, 1954
Winold Reiss’ ashes scattered on Red Blanket Hill just off highway 89, 2 -3 miles north of Kiowa. Often medicine lodges here. [relationship to the Sweet Pine Methodist church?]
June 18, 1954
First planning for KW Bergan school. (Baby boomers are beginning to hit first grade.)
August 13, 1954
Last Star is in “The Big Sky,” the movie made from the A.B. Guthrie, Jr. book.
January 6, 1956
JL Sherburne died.
Morning Gun well.
Both Morning Gun and Mittens (HB) oil wells plugged.
Julia Wades-in-the-Water dies.
Dr. King opens clinic
Mrs. Mamie Hinkel Burns : 280 acres on rez, NW of Babb brought bid of 91,000. Her son is Ted. Parents were Geo & Rosie Candlaur Hinkel. Geo Hinkel was a Union soldier and a POW at Salesburg, SC. He, Liver-Eatin’ Johnson and 2 others came upon a mortally hurt Indian boy and killed him to spare him further pain. Rosie, when not quite 13, rode from Deep Creek to Fort Benton to warn of the Nez Perce coming. Mamie’s stepfather was Joe Cobell. Wanted Bobbie to be a school teacher.
John Tatsey column begins.
Victor Pepion (47) dies in house fire at Harvey Pepion home in Cut Bank on March 4. Gas stove exploded. Father: John Pepion; Wife: Lucy Goes in Center (Sioux); bros: LeRoy, Willard, Alfred, Daniel and Harvey, Herbert in Chicago. Sis: Mrs. Geneva Fisher, Mrs. Laura Powell, Coleen Pepion. Buried at Holy Family. Studied for two years with Winold Reiss. Another two years at Art Institute in LA. Murals at the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning; Oglala Boarding School in Pine Ridge, SD; His master’s thesis was a wall mural in a ballroom at Highland University in Las Vegas: “Dances of All Nations.”
Blizzards, high winds, 15 slides by the goat lick!
City buys a paddywagon (used).
TV relay finally works.
Work started to overhaul city water system.
Nov. 13, 1956
Dump fire consumed Fred Cobell ranch, also Frank Trombley’s barn and hay.
Talbott & Betsey Jennings sold a script for a Western. [Later Betsy was the postmaster in East Glacier. They were major league screenwriters. Probably the height of their achievements was the script for “The Good Earth.”]
Relocation underway. [This was part of the plan for ending reservations: send everyone to the city where they would learn to weld or something. Because the planning and funding was inadequate, the real result was the creation of Indian ghettoes in Western cities, which then bloomed into the empowerment movement most people know as AIM -- the American Indian Movement.]
January 3, 1957
GPCo dumps being closed in hopes of clearing bears away from tourist centers. [The actual unforeseen consequence was increased dangers as hungry bears roamed in search of food instead of growing fat on garbage.]
The doings of “Miss Cook” or “Cookie.” [A public health nurse, Cookie waded into all sorts of dubious situations, scrubbing children and rescuing animals. She was an old-fashioned interfering visiting nurse and many loved her for it.]
New Cut Bank County library
Highway 2 closed by slides.
Gambles building finished.
Gary Cooper inducted into the tribe. Name: “Chief Eagle Cloud.”
“Kindergarten Hill” leveled.
Standpipe fell out of the watertank!
The marriage of Mrs. Lexipar Arias to John Bird Earrings was solemnized by Judge Robert Scriver last Friday evening. The newlyweds will motor to Alberta next week to spend their honeymoon. [Lexipar, who was much younger than her bridegroom, only died recently. To say she was a character would be to understate the case, but she was firmly convinced she was an Indian princess despite the obviously opposite facts.]
Flood control project underway in Browning.
Surveying #2 Highway reroute around Browning.
Barney Weasel Head climbs the water tower.
Vaccinations for polio
Multiple slide show at the Indian Museum.
MAJOR POLIO CAMPAIGN No Indian Days because of epidemic
Aug 7, 1958
Eddie Big Beaver Services Set for Saturday Morning
Funeral services have been set for Saturday, August 9, at 10Am in Little Flower Catholic Church for Eddie James Big Beaver, Sr., 79, whose body was found in an irrigation ditch between Yakima and Toppenish, WA, early this week. Authorities believe his body had been in the ditch about six days before discovery. Big Beaver was a full-blood Blackfeet Indian who spoke excellent English and was regarded as a competent game-keeper, experienced in the handling of all kinds of animals and an experienced show man, having done this type of work in different sections of the US. In 1931, during his employment with South Park, a director for the Bureau of Parks described him as a “picturesque full-blood Blackfeet.” During his lifetime his activities were many and varied. In 1935 he and four other Blackfeet Indians were employed by Ringling Bros. Circus. He was also a one-time game warden at Pittsburg. In 1936 Big Beaver was requested to participate in the Natioinal Folk Festival at the Texas Centennial, an educational and cultural organization that brought together different Indian groups from many regions of the US In 1939 he was employed by the Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation in the motion picture “Susannah of the Mounties.” Survivors include sons, Sam Wolverine, Eddie Big Beaver Jr. & Lynus; Daughters, Joyce Boy and Margaret Boy and 11 grandchildren. [Death was due to a fractured skull from a blow on the head.].
50% Increase in Juvenile Delinquency
Victor Pepion Dies in Great Falls
Word has been received here Wednesday of the death of Victor Pepion, 59, who passed away in the Columbus Hospital in Great Falls at 8:30 AM, a victim of cancer from which he had suffered for the past year. Mr. Pepion had been a native of Dupuyer all his life and had worked on various large cattle ranches throughout the state. Funeral arrangements at this time have not been completed but Mass will be held in the Mission Church and Burial will take place in the Robaire Cemetary near Birch Creek. Survivors include his widow, Daisy; a daughter Mildred Vielle of South Gate, CA; Stepson Vernon of Browning; 3 brothers, John, Tom and Frank, also of Browning; 3 sisters Mary Clark, Josephine Bull Calf Jr. of Browning and Louise Rutherford of Hana, Germany. Several grandchildren also mourn his passing.
Letter from behind Iron Curtain.
Train wreck in CB
Phil Ward is superintendent.
Tom Kehoe goes to Regina: Provincial Archeologist & Curator of Archeology and Ethnology at the new Museum of Natural History
Browning Taxidermist Asks for Transfer of Alaskan Albino Buffalo
Bob Scriver, Browning taxidermist and Western sculptor, has requested that Senator Mansfield use his influence in getting one of Alaska’s two albino bison transferred to Montana. “Big Medicine,” Montana’s only albino buffalo, died Aug 25 of this year, leaving the state minus a popular tourist attraction. The two albino bison in Alaska are descendants of “Big Medicine,” Scriver thinks, as the Big Delta herd was stocked from the Moiese herd of Montana. White buffalo were at one time a sacred animal to the Indians and it was considered an extremely lucky omen to even sight one.
Ace Powell and Ned Jacob of Hungry Horse were Browning visitors Monday. Ned has been wrangling horses at Lake McDonald during the tourist season.
Word comes from Alaska that both albino calves are dead.