Native America Speaks Presenters

A photo of Darnell and Smokey Rides At The Door, a smiling Blackfeet couple

Darnell and Smokey Rides At The Door

Darnell Rides At The Door

Darnell is a respected Pikunii (Blackfeet) woman. Apprenticed to her elders who have gone before her, she is dedicated to continuing the legacy of a rich and powerfully beautiful way of life.  Focusing on a greater understanding of the Pikunii World View, Darnell is driven to balance the best of both worlds. 

As an Ookaan (Medicine Lodge), Thunder and Beaver Medicine Women, painted Lodge Owner, and member of many Pikunii core groups, Darnell shares the history of a proud people. She is a consultant for education, culture, traditions, Pikunii herbology and ethnobotany. She is a certified message therapist and licensed Reiki Master.

Darnell is the honored matriarch of her family of five accomplished adults, 14 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, all of whom continue to take pride creating stability and equity in their heritage and world lifestyles of today. Darnell and her husband, Smokey, reside west of Kipp’s Lake near the ancient wagon road crossing the Springhill Campsite of her ancestors.  They have a consulting business and recently assisted in the production of the book People Before the Park.

Smokey Rides At The Door

Smokey is also known as Esstaakawn (Dependable, works for the People) of the Buffalo Back Fat Band of the Ampskapii Pikunii (aka South Peigan/Blackfeet). He is a traditional historian and respected elder who shares the balance of oral traditions of the Pikunii World View and Ways of Knowing as a teacher and mentor to all who are willing to listen, seek and honor. He inherited and carries on the storytelling skills of his Warrior grandfathers. Smokey is an accomplished educator, coach, administrator, business entrepreneur, civic and tribal leader, financial ambassador, and traditional caretaker of ancient teachings and bundles of the Blackfeet. Smokey has served as a board member, tribal councilman, minerals chairman where he has influenced and developed better relationships at the local, county, state and international levels. Smokey holds a degree in Industrial Arts with minors in History and Business. Currently he is listed as an Ambassador of Goodwill / Finance to the Blackfeet Nation.   

 

Steve Arca

Steve (Stipi) was named for his uncle Stephen (Stipn) Small Salmon in 1963. He was raised by his yaya, Mary Beaverhead Small Salmon and his mom, Alice Small Salmon in Ronan, Montana. His father is Jerry Arca of the Skokomish Tribe. Stipi is Ql̓ispé and enrolled in the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Stipi started his language path when he was accepted in the Adult Intensive Language Program at Nk̓ʷusm Salish Language School in 2012. Stipi has found reawakening and vitalization of his identity through his language journey and has a renewed purpose in life, so much so, that he has been asked to be a keynote speaker at the Celebrating Salish Conference. More recently, he has decided to pursue a degree in Native Language Teacher Education through the collaborative Salish Language Educator Development program while simultaneously teaching full time within the Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee’s Salish Language Apprentice program. He attributes his success to his yaya, sisile, Stipn, Patlik, other elders, his family, and his friends.
 

Danielle Antelope

Danielle is a member of the Blackfeet and Eastern Shoshone Tribes and recently graduated from Montana State University with her degree in Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems. She is the Executive Director of a local nonprofit, FAST Blackfeet. Danielle acknowledges that Glacier is part of the Blackfeet Nations' home, and the people are connected to the land. She knows that Traditional Ecological Knowledge (native science) is just as real as western science and she will share her Blackfeet traditional knowledge of plants, the history of the Blackfeet people, and family stories.

 

Blackfeet Singers and Dancers

The group continue the long-standing tradition of sharing Blackfeet culture with Glacier National Park visitors through traditional songs and dance. Glacier National Park has been the backyard to the Blackfeet People since long before the park was established. Since the arrival of the first train, the Blackfeet have been here to greet visitors. The Blackfeet Singers and Dancers group has been giving visitors a glimpse of the past with their singing, dancing, and narrative of Glacier National Park for over 25 years.

 

Helen Dayle Carlson

Helen is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation and a caretaker of the family Painted Elk Lodge. She is currently a student at Blackfeet Community College. Helen Dayle thinks that Glacier is a powerful region of the Blackfoot Territory, where many of the medicines are today. She feels it is important to keep the cultural stories and teaching alive in the community and plans to share her knowledge about the nitoyis (lodge).

 

Aspen Decker

Aspen is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (Tatay̓áqn, Qlisp̓é & Sqlsé) and a speaker of her tribal language, Nsélišcn ‘Salish language’. She has a master’s degree in linguistics from the University of Montana and she graduated with a B.A. in Tribal Historic Preservation from Salish Kootenai College. She has a Montana Class 7 Native American Language and Culture Educator License and has been teaching Salish for 10 years. Currently, she is working at Saint Ignatius High School as the Native American Studies and Salish Culture teacher. Aspen and her husband Cameron own a business called Xʷlxʷilt whose mission is to integrate Salish language, culture, arts in education.

 

Termaine Edmo 

Termaine is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet/Shoshone Bannock. She is a graduate of the Cuts Wood Immersion School and Blackfeet Community College. Termaine has been an active community member her entire life and her traditional upbringing has led her to be a cultural youth mentor. Termaine is currently the Climate Change Coordinator for the Blackfeet Nation. She believes in keeping the Pikunii way of life alive.

 

Frank Finley

Frank is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes from the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. He is the eldest son of Octave Finley, the Salish War Dance Chief. His mother, Edna, is an expert beadwork artist and crafts person who taught him a great deal about Indian beadwork and jewelry. After graduating from Salish Kootenai College in Environmental Science, he took several art classes to expand his horizons. Frank now teaches at the college and wants to share his cultural background and knowledge.

 

Vernon Finley

Vernon is a member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes born and raised on the Flathead Reservation located in northwest Montana. He is a graduate of the University of Montana, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Georgia with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in education. Vernon is a former chairman for the tribe.

 

Don Fish

Don is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, adjunct faculty member teaching Native American Studies at Great Falls College-MSU, and a traditionalist (which means practicing my native culture). Glacier National Park is part of my people’s aboriginal homeland and I feel that it is my obligation to inform non-natives of our people’s way of life and to help with understanding and appreciating the Native American’s belief and philosophy.

 

Jack Gladstone

Jack is an award-winning troubadour from Montana's Blackfeet Indian Nation who co-founded Glacier National Park’s “Native America Speaks” program. Jack Gladstone illustrates Western Americana through the fusion of lyric poetry, music, and spoken word narrative. His Native Anthropology album was named the 2011 Best Historical Recording by the Native American Music Association. Jack has performed at Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. In 2013 he was presented with the C.M. Russell Museum Heritage Award honoring his contributions to the "legacy, culture, life, and country of Russell's West." Jack has been inducted into the University of Washington Alumni Hall of Fame for his contributions and innovations in the field of Communication, was honored by the State of Montana with a Governor's Humanities Award in 2015, and was awarded the National Parks Conservation Association’s Robin W. Winks Award for Enhancing Public Understanding of the National Park System in 2022.

 

Mariah Gladstone

Mariah is a member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. She has been speaking and performing in and around the park since she was 4 years old and continues to share Blackfeet stories across the country. Mariah graduated from Columbia University and currently focuses her efforts in cultural revitalization and Indigenous foods. She has been recognized as one of the top 25 Under 25 Leaders in Indian Country and as a Champion for Change through the Aspen Institute.

 

Robert Hall

Robert was born and raised on the Blackfeet Reservation where he is the director of Blackfeet Native American Studies Program for the Browning Public School District. Robert is working on revitalizing the Blackfoot languages and is one of the youngest speakers of the Blackfoot language. Robert is involved in the Native American Speaks program because he promotes his tribe and people in a positive light and bring a better understanding to the culture, land, and history of the people. Robert has two dogs not including all the rez dogs scattered through Browning and Heart Butte. 

 

Ernie Heavy Runner

Ernie was raised on a ranch where he learned the old ways from his grandmother who taught him about his Blackfeet culture and language. He has also taught outdoor survival. Ernie Heavy Runner is known as a hero among the Blackfeet people for his life-saving actions stopping a run-away bus filled with firefighters in 1991.

Ernie’s program is entitled “Blackfeet History, Culture and Animals.” The program focuses on how animals play an important part in Native American cultures, how and why animal names were given to Native Americans, the history of the Blackfeet, vision quests, and how the Blackfeet relate to Glacier National Park.

 

Genevieve M. Huitt

Genevieve is an elder of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes who was born and raised in St. Ignatius and attended a Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding School. She received her B.A. degree from the University of Montana and taught 3rd and 4th grade at St. Paul’s Mission in Hays, Montana. She founded and is a director of the National Native American Music Association. She has represented American Indigenous people at the Smithsonian and on trips to Europe and the Philippines. She is an author who also teaches children to write books. During her program titled “American Indian Music and Storytelling,” Genevieve will play cultural and contemporary native music of the American Indian and will tell stories of the Ponderay people through music. She believes that the Earth is our sacred Mother and we must take care of her as she will take care of us.

 

Iron Shield Creative - Lailani Upham and Carrie Bear Chief

Lailani Upham 

Lailani is an Amskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet Nation) tribal member and a descendent from the Aaniiih, Nakoda, and Dakota tribes. Lailani grew up on the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Indian reservations where she explored her home landscapes as a kid and got into trouble for taking off into the mountains without notice on adventures. She grew up hearing the stories and history of her tribal people and was grounded in identity through the passing down of oral traditions from her grandparents on both sides of her family and tribal lineage. Lailani is also the visionary behind Iron Shield Creative LLC, a consulting platform crafting Indigenous stories and holding creative Indigenous workshops from indoors to the outdoors. She is a multidisciplinary journalist, photojournalist, and filmmaker specializing in Indigenous storytelling, land stewardship, and culturally relevant and culturally lively activities. She is passionate about land conservation efforts as well as traditional and contemporary Blackfeet and Native cultures. She says her experience and passion have led her to a closer connection to nature and like-minded storytellers while vamping up a hunger to encourage others to tap into their voice through written and visual storytelling. Above all, Lailani loves being a grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, auntie, and friend; and takes these roles very seriously. Lailani is a U.S. Army veteran and woman owner of an Indigenous business where she promotes tribal and cultural values every day by living her best, strongest, fearless, and hilarious life.

 

Kevin Kicking Woman

Kevin is a tribal member of the Blackfeet/Cree Nation in Montana. Kevin served in the Navy for four years, based on the USS Sacramento AOE-1, in Bremerton, Washington. He completed three tours overseas and one tour in the Desert Storm conflict. He earned his bachelor's degree in Native American Studies and Anthropology, he graduated from the University of Montana in 2014 with a master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Cultural Anthropology, Linguistics and Music Ethnology). Most recently he began working at Browning High School as a Blackfeet Native American Studies teacher. Kevin has been raised, lives and practices his native ceremonies, traditions, singing and dancing. He is an active member of many of the societies. His passion for singing has brought him respect, acclaim and knowledge. His singing, sharing and teaching others has impacted and enriched many lives.

 

Edwin “Sooney” Little Plume Sr.

Sooney is a full blood Blackfeet Indian who practices his native culture and has knowledge of his ancestors’ costumes, traditions, and language. Sooney is a singer and traditional dancer. He will share stories of the mountains and why they are so important to the Blackfeet people.

 

Joseph Running Crane

Joseph is a singer songwriter born and raised in Browning and Heart Butte, Montana. He spent the 12 years with various punk and country bands as they traveled across the country. For the last five years, Joseph has made a fickle living as a western troubadour, while maintaining a spartan approach to songwriting and performance. He was named a 2019 Artist in Business Leadership Fellow. Joseph has been featured in Montana writer Aaron Parett’s book Montana Americana Music: Boot Stomping in Big Sky Country. He is thrilled by any opportunity to share his thoughts and songs in the place that has inspired so many of them.

 

Alicia & Taos Yellow Owl

Alicia is the coordinator of the Native Science Field Center at Blackfeet Community College. As the coordinator, Alicia teaches a Native Science Institute afterschool program and works to connect students with Blackfeet Science. Alicia also oversees the Native Science Field Center’s Fellow's program. This program is for BCC students in any STEM field. Alicia is interested in furthering people’s knowledge about the Blackfeet and building a working relationship with Glacier National Park.

Taos has attended Cuts Wood Blackfeet Language School since kindergarten and will be in the 9th grade next year. He is fluent in both Blackfeet and traditional sign language.

 

Treyace Yellow Owl

Treyace is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe. She was born and raised in Browning. From the age of 5 she attended a Blackfeet Language Immersion School and is fluent in her native language. Treyace has extensive knowledge in the history and language of the Blackfeet People. She is involved in this program to spread positive, accurate, and dependable knowledge of her people.

Last updated: July 26, 2022

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