‘Culture is a breath of life’: Fort Peck Tribes repatriate sacred items from UM

Nora Mabie

When she was little, Dyan Youpee spent her afternoons in her dad’s office — sometimes doodling under his desk.

Dyan’s father, Darrell “Curley” Youpee, founded the Fort Peck Cultural Resource Department in 1995 and served as director for 22 years.

As a young girl, Dyan remembers listening to her father’s conversations. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she was absorbing valuable information.

Dyan Youpee poses with her father, Curley Youpee. Curley was director of the Fort Peck Cultural Resource Department for more than 20 years.

Provided by Dyan Youpee

“It was a revolutionary time,” she said. “I watched my dad fighting to have a spot at the table with federal agencies. So that language has always been part of my lexicon. It’s always been instilled in me that I was rich in culture.”

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Dyan Youpee now directs the Fort Peck Cultural Resource Department, and it’s these experiences that led her — along with members of her staff and the Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board —

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