Earl Old Person, longtime chief and chairman of the Blackfeet Tribe has passed away from cancer on Wednesday 13 October 2021 at the age of 92.
Earl Old Person died at Blackfeet Community Hospital after a long battle with cancer.
His death was made known to the public by Blackfeet Nation/Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, a group on Facebook.
Earl Old Person was the longest-serving elected tribal official in the U.S.
Earl has served the group as a whole for over 60 years, he joined the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council in 1952, and he served as their chairman for over 50 years.
During his time of service, 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, Earl was ordained as chief by the family of the late Jim White Calf.
Earl was an orator and leader for the Blackfeet People, the Blackfoot Confederacy, and the Indian People across the United States and Canada.
President Seth Bodnar of the University of Montana said following the death of Blackfeet Nation Chief Earl Old Person: “The entire University of Montana community feels deep sadness at the loss of Chief Earl Old Person. He not only led the Blackfeet Nation with wisdom and grace but also had a tremendously profound impact on the Griz family. The weight of this loss will last. We are all better for having been influenced by him.”
U.S. Senator Jon Tester released a statement on Thursday 14 October 2021: “Today, Sharla and I mourn the loss of a great man and a dear friend, Chief Earl Old Person. Chief Old Person 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 he was in it. He will never be replaced, and we are holding his loved ones and the Blackfeet people in our hearts.”
“I was saddened to hear the news of Chief Earl Old Person passing away. He was a great Montanan and a great American. My prayers are with his family, friends, and the entire Blackfeet Nation. It was an honor to know him,” U.S. Sen. Steve Daines said.