Jack Gladstone, Montanas Blackfeet Troubadour,
performed at North Idaho College, he captured the attention of his
audience with both his songs and his easy manner, sometimes asking
them to sing along and at other times regaling them with the history
behind his songs. He knows Native history and legend far better
than most, talking easily of events involving many tribes and many
individuals and his songs, written and produced by him, frequently
relate these events in lyric form.
It was American Indian Heritage Week and NIC's American Indian
Student Alliance had invited Gladstone to highlight their Inter-Tribal
Show at the Performing Arts Center on campus. The Alliance has raised
$60,000 for Native American scholarships over the past three years
and proceeds from this event were designated for that cause.
The audience was widely receptive, clapping along and singing
when asked, as Gladstone sang a number of his songs. He has produced
15 original CDs over the years, and two years ago won a Native American
Music Award for Best Historical Recording, for his album titled
Native Anthropology, Challenge, Choice and Promise in the 21st Century.
this year the C.M. Russell Museum presented him with its Heritage
In 1985, Gladstone co-founded Native America Speaks, a Native
interpretive series he still presents at Glacier National Park near
his home. He has presented thousands of programs, in all but three
states, and has toured Canada, Japan, and Europe.
The enthusiasm this night for his music was evidenced by the
number of people waiting long after his performance for the chance
to talk with him and buy one or more of his CDs.
The other part of the evenings show featured the Haida
Heritage Dance Group from Seattle. This group is endeavoring to
keep the Haida culture alive. The language had nearly disappeared
but now its being restored through school and college classes.
Wearing beautiful button blankets and carrying hand drums with
Haida symbols, they performed a number of dances and songs, including
the dogfish song. Legend tells of a dogfish, caught
in a tide pool, who said, "If you throw me back into the waves
Ill give you a song for your people." They also performed
a paddle song, a bow and arrow song, and both eagle and raven songs.