Blackfeet Nation elects new leadership but old wounds remain

Harry Barnes, the new chairman of the Blackfeet Nation council. Photo from Harry Barnes

The Blackfeet Nation of Montana swore in a new council on Thursday in hopes of ending a long-running leadership dispute.

The affair, however, was far from a peaceful one, The Great Falls Tribune reported. There was an argument that temporarily prevented Earl Old Person from taking a seat at the inauguration table.

Incumbent council member Cheryl Little Dog later unleashed a tirade against Old Person. The pair have been on opposite sides of the dispute for nearly two years.

Little Dog said "people call Earl Old Person the chief." But "he's not my chief," she added, the paper reported.

Old Person was eventually seated and expressed disappointment at the proceedings. "It's very sad to have to have an inauguration such as we are having," he said, the paper reported.

The council consists of nine members. Five were elected last month, and although some considered the vote to be illegal, both factions agreed to accept the results.

Harry Barnes, who was among those elected on June 24, will serve as chairman of the council. Scott Kipp, another new leader, will serve as vice chair. Tyson Running Wolf, yet another newcomer, was chosen as secretary.

Get the Story:
Blackfeet Council members sworn into office (The Great Falls Tribune 7/11)
General BTBC election results in quiet unease, no re-elections (The Glacier Reporter 7/2)
Blackfeet Tribe Elects New Council (The Flathead Beacon 6/27)

Join the Conversation