Tag Archives: Crow Indian Nation

Wendy Red Star – Telling It Like It Is Now

Wendy Red Star in “Winter Thesis” (Photo by Kaelan Burkett)

Attending public school in Montana, Wendy Red Star didn’t learn anything about her indigenous Apsáalooke (Crow) history.  She was taught the usual curriculum of European arrival in the Western Hemisphere, western expansion of White settlers, cowboys-and-Indians tales, etc.  But, as has been common in U.S. history, she and her fellow Crow students saw nothing – nothing positive, for the most part – their people’s presence in what is now the state of Montana.  Years ago, however, she became determined to change that and began researching her people’s history on her own.

Today, the multi-media artist is working to ensure future generations of Crow students – and all American pupils, for that matter – aren’t slighted in the same way.  Mixing her indigenous history with humor and personal research, Red Star creates images of Native American peoples from the past and in the present to help everyone understand they aren’t just school mascots or figures from old black-and-white photographs.

Her latest creation, Apsáalooke: Children of the Large-Beaked Bird, is being exhibited at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCa), which is bringing her work to children.

“I think it would be really wonderful to present that history to children because when I grew up,” Red Star said in a recent interview, “I attended public school in Hardin, which is a town that’s surrounded by the Crow reservation and once was part of the Crow reservation.  We never talked about anything having to do with Crow history, even though the student population was a mix of Crow kids and white rancher kids.  So, to me, it’s always been a fantasy to have that history presented in some way.  Then we tried to figure out a way to best engage that age demographic, for the exhibition.”

Righting wrongs and addressing past grievances has never been easy.  But it’s something that has to be done.

The exhibition runs through the spring of 2021.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art Working

In Memoriam – Hartford “Sonny” Black Eagle, 1934 – 2012

Hartford and Mary Black Eagle and President Barack Obama bow their heads in prayer during the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Interior Department in Washington on December 2, 2011.

Hartford and Mary Black Eagle and President Barack Obama bow their heads in prayer during the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Interior Department in Washington on December 2, 2011.

Hartford “Sonny” Black Eagle, an elder from Montana’s Crow Indian Nation whose family “adopted” Sen. Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, has died.  He was 78.  Black Eagle passed away at his home in Lodge Grass on November 26, after suffering problems from a recent bout with pneumonia.

Black Eagle and his family had ceremoniously adopted Obama when the latter visited the Crow Indian Reservation shortly before Montana’s Democratic primary.  As part of the adoption, Obama attended a purification ceremony where he was prayed over by Black Eagle and received a Crow name that translates as, “One Who Helps People Throughout the Land.”

Black Eagle’s son, CedricBlack Eagle, current Crow Tribal Chairman, said the ceremony was one of his father’s proudest moments and felt that it was his duty to make sure Native American voices were heard.  “He felt like he was representing all of Indian Country as a spokesman, and always telling his (adopted) son, the President, that he has to make sure all of the people in Indian Country are heard and try to help them all,” Cedric Black Eagle said.
Black Eagle and his wife, Mary, later attended Obama’s inauguration.  During destructive flooding on the reservation last year that left Lodge Grass largely isolated and forced many tribal members from their homes, Obama called Hartford and Mary Black Eagle to check on their safety, Cedric Black Eagle said.

Funeral services for Hartford Black Eagle are scheduled December 6, followed by internment at Lodge Grass Cemetery.

Leave a comment

Filed under News