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Traditional Blackfeet rock cairn burial held for human remains found on Montana reservation

Posted at 9:18 PM, Jun 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 23:24:51-04

BROWNING- The human remains found on the Blackfeet Indian Reservationlast December were given a proper burial Wednesday morning.

“We have tremendous respect for our culture. It ties us all together as a tribe,” Robert DesRosier, director of Blackfeet Tribal Homeland Security, said.

DesRosier said the remains were found by a hiker who was searching the area for dinosaur bones.

The remains were sent to a laboratory where they were determined to be ancient, dating back to the late 1800s.

Along with the remains, remnants of a police officer’s uniform were found.

DesRosier said the remains were most likely a six-foot male, Blackfeet law enforcement officer. Law enforcement officers were first hired in 1878.

DesRosier said traditional Rock Cairn Burials were common during those years. The ceremony included a prayer and eulogy.

In DesRosier’s eulogy, he said, ‘Here we are today to lay to rest a man we don’t know much about. We aren’t sure who he is, who his family is, and we don’t know much about his death.”

He continued, “Somewhere in his past he made a choice to become a police officer, something that happens even today with our young men and women who serve. Even back then it was a choice that he took upon himself that may require him to be placed in a life and death situation many times.”

DesRosier said it is believed that officers made $10 a month. He added the only tools the officer likely had was a badge, uniform, revolver and horse.

“Only to survive on his physical strength, bravery and his wit,” DesRosier said.

DesRosier said although not much is known about the officer, it is important to the Blackfeet Nation that he is honored.

“I’m just overwhelmed by the amount of respect that we had for this day and the honoring for this gentleman. It’s an unknown person, but there is obviously a lot of caring and concern. The folks that showed up were very happy to show their respect. The Blackfeet Nation is like one big family. We just embrace those sorts of things,” DesRosier said.

Story by Elizabeth Transue, MTN News