Earl Old Person

Earl Old Person

BROWNING, Mont. - Montana officials Thursday released statements on the passing of Blackfeet Chief and Chairman Earl Old Person.

Gov. Greg Gianforte said the following statement via release:

“It is with heavy hearts we mourn the passing of Chief Earl Old Person. With the confidence of his people, Chief Old Person put others before himself to serve a greater good. Chief Old Person leaves a lasting legacy with his love for people, unparalleled strength of character, dedication to service, and commitment to preserving cultural heritage.

“Chief Old Person dedicated his life as a tireless advocate, educator, storyteller, and song singer not only for the Blackfeet people, but also for our state and nation. His legacy will live on for many generations. Our prayers are with Chief Old Person’s family, friends, and the Blackfeet Nation.”

Sen. Jon Tester said the following statement via release:

"Today, Sharla and I mourn the loss of a great man and dear friend, Chief Earl Old Person. Chief Old Person was a fierce advocate for the Blackfeet Nation and all of Indian country for his entire life, and the world is a better place because he was in it. He will never be replaced, and we are holding his loved ones and the Blackfeet people in our hearts."

University of Montana President Seth Bodnar said the following statement via release:

“The entire University of Montana community feels deep sadness at the loss of Chief Earl Old Person. He not only led the Blackfeet Nation with wisdom and grace but also had a tremendously profound impact on the Griz family. The weight of this loss will last. We are all better for having been influenced by him.”

The University of Montana released the following statement via Facebook:

"The University of Montana extends deep condolences to the Blackfeet people following the passing of honorary lifetime chief of the Blackfeet Nation, Chief Earl Old Person. For decades, Chief Old Person was a dear and special friend to UM. At 92 years old, he was one of the country's most decorated and respected elders and dedicated his life as a voice for Indian Country.
 
For the past 26 years, Old Person would make the drive down from Browning to Missoula to sing tribal songs at UM Commencement ceremonies with the Rawhide Singers. He said it was particularly important for UM students to hear the songs on their graduation day.
 
We honor the legacy Chief Old Person leaves with us and we are forever shaped by his friendship and leadership."

Chief Old Person died Wednesday at the Blackfeet Community Hospital after a long battle with cancer at 92 years old. He was the longest serving elected tribal official in the United States.

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