7th Annual Fall Gathering!

Thank you all for coming and making it a raging success! See you next year!

September 17-18, 2016

East Glacier Park, MT

Please join the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance for its annual Fall Gathering, September 17-18, at the Rising Wolf Ranch outside of East Glacier Park.  The Fall Gathering is an annual public event to promote education and awareness of conservation and cultural issues for the Badger-Two Medicine region.  “The Badger” is surrounded by and immediately adjacent to Glacier National Park, the Blackfeet Reservation, and the Bob Marshall/Great Bear Wilderness complex. There will be events all day Saturday, featuring renowned outdoor photographer, Stephen Gabriel Gnam, Blackfeet cultural speaker, John Murray and research ecologist from the USGS, Dr. Tabitha Graves. Lunch is provided and the symposium is followed by dinner, entertainment, and an arts and artisan crafts auction in the evening. On Sunday, the gathering continues with options for guided hikes into the nearby Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. A $30 per person donation is suggested to cover costs of lunch and dinner, but anyone is welcome to attend regardless of ability to donate. Childcare is available on site, as well as camping, but no pets or fires are allowed. Pre-Registration is required, please sign up here at http://bit.ly/gtma2016.

The Keynote speaker for the 2016 Fall Gathering is Steven Gabriel Gnam, a photographer who explores and illuminates our connection to nature. He has been photographing wildlife, landscapes, and people in adventures across the western Unites States and Canada since he was 14. Most of his work focuses on celebrating and protecting the remaining wildlife and wild places of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. Steven’s photographs have been used by conservation organizations across the west, including the Nature Conservancy, NPCA, and the Montana Wilderness Association. His work has been featured by commercial and editorial clients, such as Patagonia, Backpacker Magazine, National Parks, and Montana Outdoors. Steven lives with his wife, Alyson, in the foothills of the Cascades.

The cultural speaker will be John Murray who was a teacher at the Blackfeet Community College for 12 years and has served as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Blackfeet Nation since 2004. In that capacity he has built bridges within and beyond the reservation to preserve and protect traditional Pikuni culture. He has shown a special dedication to assuring the Blackfeet language will continue and thrive. John is an innovative, effective guide for indigenous cultural preservation, creating a field school for native youth and scholars on the Blackfeet Reservation. John’s philosophy is that science is a collaborative and ethical partnership, a value he lives out daily. John has been instrumental—indeed essential—in protecting the Badger-Two Medicine region in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. He has funded many of these efforts through prestigious, highly competitive grants secured at the federal and regional level. John Murray has made a profound difference to his people and Montana.

The biological speaker will be Tabitha Graves, a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in northwest Montana. Dr. Graves is currently working at the USGS West Glacier Field Station in Glacier National Park, Montana. She has primarily studied grizzly bears, attempting to understand the influence of landscape features and human associated land use impacts on grizzly bear distributions, densities, and genetics.   Dr. Graves is currently studying the impact of climate change on bear foods, as well as attempting to understand how grizzly bears disperse on the landscape. She is also using genetic data to build a family tree of grizzly bears in order to understand how grizzly bears interact with each other and how they utilize the landscape. Dr. Graves has previously studied the spatial and temporal response of grizzly bears to recreational use on trails in the Badger -Two Medicine Area. Tabitha received an M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. in Forest Science from Northern Arizona University.

We'll have music in the evening with a performance by Linda Waterfall.  Over the course of her career, Linda Waterfall has been named Seattle’s Top Singer-Songwriter by the Seattle Times, the Seattle Weekly, the Rocket and the KZAM Arts and Entertainment Poll. Seattle Times Music Critic Paul de Barros listed Linda Waterfall’s 13th recording, Hometown Girl, among his 10 favorite new albums of 2015—alongside recordings by Adele, Kendrick Lamar, Matthew Shipp, Ben Goldberg, Dave Douglas Quintet, Laurie Anderson, Sam Phillips, Cecile McLorin Salvant, and Mary Halvorson. Here’s his review of Hometown Girl:

“Seattle singer-songwriter Linda Waterfall continues to grow and grow, not only as a stunningly precise guitar player, but as a sophisticated composer who often reaches levels of lyrical depth and harmonic purpose comparable to Joni Mitchell.   Her jazzy, immaculately self-produced new album, Hometown Girl, emits light and energy at supernova strength, illuminating her passions—all things homegrown (‘Hometown Girl’), following your heart (‘Play Now’), great writers (‘Song For Jane,’ for Jane Austen; ‘Jim’s Song,’ for Mark Twain)—as well as her fears—(the touching and hilarious ‘I Don’t Want to Get Dressed’). Her guitar work on John Lennon’s ‘Come Together’ is extraordinary.”    —Paul de Barros, Seattle Times Weekend, 11/13/2015

There will also be a screening of the newly released documentary called "Our Last Refuge", produced by Kings Road Media, travels with Blackfeet elders to the time of Lewis and Clark, up through decades of cultural suppression, through the oil-lease years of the Reagan Administration, and into a time of hope and optimism carried today by a new generation of Blackfeet leaders.

“The film is testament to the power of faith and determination and perseverance,” said filmmaker Daniel Glick. “The title – ‘Our Last Refuge’ – speaks volumes. This is the last bastion of Blackfeet traditional culture. This is where they make their stand.”

The film features many prominent Blackfeet leaders, including traditional Chief Earl Old Person. Speaking of his Tribe’s connection to the Badger-Two Medicine – the headwaters of Blackfeet culture – Old Person told filmmakers that Blackfeet traditions have been pushed to their limits. “We used to be in Fort Benton,” Old Person said. “They pushed us to Choteau. From Choteau they pushed us to what is called Old Agency. They pushed us here. If it weren’t for these mountains, they’d push us into the Pacific Ocean. This is where we said it stopped. And this is what we’re going to keep. We’re going to fight for this area that we call our home.”

Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes underscored the importance of the Badger-Two Medicine, saying “we have tipi rings and ceremonial structures that date back 10,000 years” in the region.

The Badger-Two Medicine – bordered by the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Glacier National Park, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex – is named for the two rivers that spill from its mountain heights. It is home not only to the cradle of Blackfeet culture, but also to a vast array of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, wolverine, elk, and cutthroat trout. It serves as a primary migratory corridor, connecting the wilderness with the park and the prairie with the alpine peaks.

In the early 1980s, the US government sold oil and gas leases throughout the area without the required tribal consultation and sidestepping environmental reviews. Blackfeet and conservation partners have since fought side-by-side to protect the area. A majority of leaseholders have voluntarily retired their Badger-Two Medicine holdings, and federal law prohibits any new leasing in the region. In March, the government took an important and bold step by canceling one illegal lease. Blackfeet and conservation partners continue to work diligently to remove all 17 remaining leases and ultimately protect the region permanently.

“This is a tremendous story,” filmmaker Glick said. “This is the story of our age. What side of history will we be on, at the end of this struggle? What will we decide to value?”

Gloria Flora, a retired US Forest Service supervisor, who during her tenure enacted some protections for the area, noted in the film, “if we drill in the Badger-Two Medicine, we essentially have told the American people that no place is off-limits. There is no place that’s too special, too important, too valuable. And that places oil and gas development above all other uses, all other values. Basically, it says any place is open.”

But if the leases are retired, the message will be one of humility, restraint and respect for cultural neighbors, and, perhaps, of a new relationship between Indian Country and the US government. It will also create a new opportunity to forge a lasting vision and partnership that honors both the tremendous cultural and ecological values of this unparalleled landscape.


For more information, contact the Fall Gathering coordinator, John Schmid, at jpsmtoh@gmail.com, (406) 407-1810.

Directions to Rising Wolf Ranch

The Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance, (GTMA), a local non-profit organization, is “Dedicated to the protection, stewardship, and shared enjoyment of the culturally- and ecologically-irreplaceable wildlands of the Badger-Two Medicine and its interconnected ecosystems.”

And it’s GTMA’s vision that “A child of future generations will recognize and can experience the same cultural and ecological richness that we find in the wildlands of the Badger-Two Medicine today.”


Fall Gathering Agenda

Saturday September 17, 2016

9:00 AM to 10:00 AM:             Registration and Coffee Meet and Greet

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM:           Cultural Speaker: John Murray

10:45 AM to 11:00 AM:            Break

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM:            Biological Speaker: Tabitha Graves

12:15 PM to 12:30 PM:            Break

12:30 PM to 1:30 PM:              Chili and Cornbread Feast and Socializing

1:30 PM to 2:15 PM:                "State of the Badger" Address: Kendall Flint

2:15 PM to 2:30 PM:                Break

2:30 PM to 3:15 PM:                Keynote Speaker: Steven Gnam

3:15 PM to 3:30 PM:                Break

3:30 PM to 4:00 PM:                Film: "Our Last Refuge"

4:00 PM to 5:30 PM:                Socializing

5:30 PM to 6:30 PM:                Live Auction

6:30 PM to 7:30 PM:                Dinner by Rising Wolf Ranch

7:45 PM to 9:00 PM:                Music by Linda Waterfall

Sunday September 18, 2016

9:00 AM:                                     Hikes in the Badger-Two Medicine 

White Rock Pass: Lou Bruno (strenuous)

Hall Creek Proposed Well Site: Kendall Flint (moderate)

Kiyo Crag: Dylan DesRosier (strenuous)

South Fork Two Medicine River: John Schmid (easy)