Branch Office: #100, 820 – 59th Avenue | Calgary, AB | T2H 2G5 | 587.287.1100
For Immediate Release
October 14, 2021
Chiefs Express Condolences for Blackfeet Tribal Chief Earl Old Person
Blackfoot Territory, Alberta – An era has come to an end with the passing of renowned Elder Statesman Earl Old Person, long-time Chief of the Amskapi’Piikani Blackfeet Tribe in Browning, Montana. For over 50 years, Stoo’saa’poo (Cold Wind) was the longest serving Chief in the U.S. The former chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, has died at age 92.
Old Person died Wednesday at the Blackfeet Community Hospital “after a long battle with cancer,” according to the Blackfeet Nation/Blackfeet Tribal Business Council. “The Blackfeet People have suffered a huge loss today with the passing of Chief Old Person. A chapter in our history has come to a close,” the tribe said in a statement Wednesday. Old Person was elected to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council in 1954 and served for over 60 years, making him the longest serving ‘elected’ tribal official in the country.
The Siksikaitsitapi, Blackfoot Confederacy Chiefs and members in Alberta also paid tribute and respect for Stoo’saa’poo and family. “Prayers and condolence to our relatives in Amskapi’Piikani. We have lost a life time leader, a great elder and traditional knowledge keeper. On behalf of your Siksika family, we wish his family and friends all the best during this hard time and pray you rest easy Chief, as you make your journey to the Sand Hills,” expressed Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot.
In 1978, the family of the late Jim White Calf bestowed the hereditary, lifetime chieftainship to Old Person. He met many dignitaries including every U.S. president since Dwight Eisenhower, the British Royal Family, the Shah of Iran and other world leaders. Old Person would share great stories everywhere he went.
In tribute, Maakiinima, Chief Roy Fox of the Blood Tribe says, “Nikskoo’koowa (relatives), on behalf of the Kainai Blood Tribe, the Chief and Council extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family and friends of the late Chief Earl Old Person. Earl was a friend and mentor to many of us within the Tribe as well as the Blackfoot Confederacy. His wisdom and presence will forever be missed. However, his legacy will remain and continue. The Blood Tribe honoured Chief and Chairman Earl over the years and he was inducted as an honorary member of the Kainai Chieftainship several decades ago for his work and dedication towards the indigenous people of North America. We commemorate his wisdom, knowledge and humility and may our prayers and supportive actions toward each other guide his spirit to the realm of our ancestors.”
Earl worked tirelessly to preserve his language and traditions and recently fought to block oil and gas development in the ‘sacred’ Badger-Two Medicine area, south of the Blackfeet Reservation. People say, Old Person is “one of the heroes you wanted to be able to say (that) you knew. He was a fierce advocate for the Blackfeet Nation and all of Indian Country for his entire life, and the world is a better place because of it.” BCTC President Kiaayo Tamisoowo, Piikani Chief Stanley Grier says “Chief Earl Old Person was the oldest Chief of the Blackfoot Confederacy. He was well respected and represented the Blackfeet Tribe with distinction. I have learned a lot from the Chief. He will be greatly missed.”
Plans for memorial services are still pending, the tribe said.
For more information, please contact Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council CEO Jack Royal at 587.287.1100 or email: [email protected]