Blackfeet Chief Earl Old Person dies at 92

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Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet Nation speaks during the University of Montana spring commencement at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, Saturday, May 1, 2021.

BEN ALLAN SMITH, Missoulian Lee Newspapers

Earl Old Person, the longest-serving elected tribal official in the United States, died Wednesday at Blackfeet Community Hospital after a long battle with cancer, tribal officials said. He was 92.

The announcement was posted Wednesday night on the Blackfeet Nation/Blackfeet Tribal Business Council’s Facebook page.

Old Person was elected to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council in 1952 and served for over 60 years while serving as chair for more than 50 years.

He met many dignitaries, including every U.S. president since Dwight Eisenhower, the British royal family, the Shah of Iran, and other world leaders.

In 1978, the family of the late Jim White Calf bestowed the hereditary chieftainship to Old Person, the news release stated.

Old Person was known for being an orator and leader for the Blackfeet people, the Blackfoot Confederacy and Native Americans across the United States and Canada.

“The Blackfeet People have suffered

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