Chief Earl Old Person Has Passed Away

Browning, MT – Earl Old Person, the longest serving elected tribal official in the U.S., passed away on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at Blackfeet Community Hospital after a long battle with cancer.

Funeral services are pending, according to James McNeely, Public Information Officer for the Blackfeet Tribe.

Chief Earl Old Person
(1929-2021)
Photo: James McNeely

Earl was elected to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council in 1952 and served for over 60 years while serving as Chairman for over 50 years. During this time, Earl 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 Earl.

Earl, whose Blackfeet names were Cold Wind (Stu Sapoo) and Charging Home (Ahka Pa Ka Pee), was an orator and leader for the Blackfeet People, the Blackfoot Confederacy, and Indian People across the United States and Canada. He served as president of the National Congress of American Indians (1969-70).

Old Person worked to preserve the tribal language and traditions and fought to block oil and gas development in the Badger-Two Medicine area, an area south of the Blackfeet Reservation that is sacred to the tribe.

Old Person received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from

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