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Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore recording the music of a Blackfoot chief onto a phonograph, 1916.

Maatakakkoma’piiwa….

That’s not just “a” chief. He’s not just some random nameless Niitsitapi. His name is Ninastoko. He was a warrior in his younger days and died in 1942. He was frequently in DC as a representative and negotiator of the entire Blackfoot Confederacy. Though he was born in Alberta, he lived on the Blackfeet (Amskaapipikani) reservation in Montana and lived near Browning.

In this picture, he is not recording music, but rather interpreting traditional songs into Plains Indian Sign Language (although the caption that usually accompanies this picture says otherwise). It’s because of him that we have Glacier National Park (if he hadn’t negotiated that land for a National Park, the government would have taken it from us and let White settle it)

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