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Oct 18, 2021

On Senate Floor, Tester Honors Chief Earl Old Person

Senator: “He was a keeper of Tribal history, a tireless advocate, and for many, he was a national voice for Indian Country.”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today gave remarks on the Senate floor honoring the life and legacy of Blackfeet Nation Chief, Earl Old Person, who passed away on Thursday, October 13th after a long battle with cancer.

“He was a keeper of Tribal history, a tireless advocate, and for many, he was a national voice for the challenges in Indian Country,” said Tester. “There are too many honors and awards for me to name, but Chief Old Person’s impact goes far beyond his accolades… He will sorely be missed by the Blackfeet Nation, by the state of Montana, by Indian Country across this country, and my wife Sharla and I, as well as countless others that knew him. The world is a better place because of Chief Old Person and the work that he did. He will never be replaced.”

At the age of 92, and at the time of his death, Chief Old Person was the longest serving elected Tribal official in the United States. He was first elected to the Blackfeet Tribal Council in 1954, and would serve on the council for 56 years. In 1978, Old Person became Chief of the Blackfeet Nation, and would hold the title of Chief until his passing.

Throughout his life, Chief Old Person served as the President of the National Congress of American Indians, helped to establish the nation’s first Tribally owned bank, and was named the Outstanding Indian of the Year by the Chicago Indian Council. In 1994 Old Person received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The University of Montana in recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to Indian Country. In 1998 he was awarded the Montana ACLU’s Jeannette Rankin Civil Liberties Award, the organization’s most prestigious award. He is also a member of the Montana Indian Hall of Fame (2007), and was recently inducted into the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame (2021).

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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