Thursday, March 29, 2012



,Allen "Arsh" Stiffarm

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HAVRE - Allen Arthur "Arsh" Stiffarm, 56, of Havre died of complications from diabetes on Monday, March 26, at his home.

His wake is 7 p.m. today at Red Whip Center in Fort Belknap. His funeral Mass is 10 a.m. Friday at the center. Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook is handling arrangements.

Allen Arthur "Arsh" Stiffarm was born to Peter Stiffarm and Ruby Chief Goes Out Stiffarm on July 16, 1955, in Havre. Arsh attended grade school in Rocky Boy and Box Elder until 1964 when the family moved to Browning. He graduated from Browning High School in 1973. Arsh was a member of the Browning High School team that placed second at the 1973 state class B basketball tournament, where he also was named to the all-tournament team. In the first round game of the tournament, Arsh scored 28 points and grabbed 23 rebounds. For his efforts, Arsh was named to the class B all state team, first team. He was also named to the all conference and all division teams. He received a basketball scholarship to Northern Montana College where he played for two years. Basketball was his passion. In 1975, he was selected to play on the Browning Reds, an Indian independent basketball team that won the National Indian Activities Association Basketball Championship in 1975. It was the only Montana team to ever win this title. Arsh also played on the Rocky Boy Rockets and the Fort Belknap Warriors teams, winning numerous MVP honors. In addition, he also played on the Fort Belknap Warriors and Milk River Sponsors softball teams. Arsh was a real Renaissance man as he won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow award at Browning High School. Arsh was also an avid fan of the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Pittsburg Steelers.

Upon his graduation from the University of Montana (business administration), Arsh worked in the finance department for the Fort Belknap Indian Community. He later worked for the National Tribal Development Association. In addition, he was a member of the coach-ing staff at Harlem High School.

Arsh was diagnosed with diabetes in his early college days. The rest of his life he actively participated in basketball, bowling, softball, golf and swimming to control his diabetes.

Arsh was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Wesley and Lesley, his sisters Celia and Delia and his nephew Jeremy.

He is survived by his son, Allen Taylor-Stiffarm; his sister, Thelma Stiffarm, brothers Steve, Loren "Bum" (Barbara), and Garland "Ping" (PeeWee). He is also survived by his nieces, RaeDee, Amy and Mariah; and nephews Daniel, Eric, Pete, Jason, Justin, Tristan and Nathaniel "Nano." In addition, he is survived by numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews throughout the United States.

Condolences may be posted online at Published in the Great Falls Tribune on March 29, 2012.

I'm adding this postscript a day late because I wanted to get the obit posted in time for people here to attend the services.

I vividly recall when "Arsh" and "Bum" showed up at Browning High School. Tall, handsome, funny and smart, they were standouts from the beginning. These men did not forsake their NA culture. (Bob commissioned Ruby, their mother, to replicate a beaded buckskin jacket that had been worn by Buffalo Bill so Buff Bill's grandson could wear it while speaking without risking the original, and she did an outstanding job.) But as you can see above, the culture of basketball was their bridge to a modern world where they continued to do well. This aspect of rez life is not always realized by the general public, so I note it here.

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