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The Natives Issue

Welcome to Blackfeet Country

The Blackfeet tribe has about 15,500 members. 8,500 of them live on the rez. The rez is 1.5 million acres. Do the math—that makes for a lot of open space.
VICE Staff
Κείμενο VICE Staff
1.1.06

  This entire issue of

Vice

was done on a Blackfeet Indian reservation in northwestern Montana. Hence, everybody in this issue is a Blackfeet Indian. (Well, everybody except for one guy who is a bartender, but he goes out with a Blackfeet woman and he lives on the rez so we count him in.)

The Blackfeet tribe has about 15,500 members. 8,500 of them live on the rez. The rez is 1.5 million acres. Do the math—that makes for a lot of open space. The main town on the rez is Browning, a charming little burg that’s facing up to 80 percent unemployment, rampant (and we mean

ΔΙΑΦΗΜΙΣΗ

raaaampant

) alcoholism, teenage pregnancy out the wazoo, and a burgeoning vogue for crystal meth. It’s not exactly Shangri-La.

The people who live there, however, are super friendly, funny, and proud. Some of the coolest Blackfeet we know are…

Bob Burns, a Blackfeet spiritual leader who has a lot to say on issues of race relations and more. He’s here and here.

Charlene Burns, Bob’s wife. She knows all there is to know about Blackfeet traditional religion, which involves bundles, medicine pipes, and elaborate ceremonies. She’s here.

Kelsy Rae Running Wolf was attacked by a grizzly bear and is 100% fine now. She talks about it here.

Charlie Fisher is a very nice local Indian man who was really plastered one night when we met him. He gives the entire world a verbal shitwhipping here.

Martha Day Rider is a community health worker. She deals with diabetes the way that trashmen deal with bags of refuse: No matter how much she takes care of, there’s always more coming. There are plenty more problems too, and she talks about them here.

There’s tons more in here too—a whole reservation’s worth.