My name is Jack Gladstone a member of the Blackfeet Indian Nation. I’m enrolled on the Blackfeet Reservation in northwestern Montana and I’m a member of the Fisheater Clan of the Blood Division. Also, I live currently between the Flathead Valley in northwestern Montana and the Blackfeet Reservation, and the St. Mary’s Valley.
St. Mary’s Valley was where my grandmother and father were born. I derived my Blackfeet ancestry from my father’s side. My mother is actually full-blooded German. Her grandparents actually came out in the 1870s, emigrated from Germany – quite an interesting story.
My mother and father met after World War II out of Seattle, Washington. My dad served aboard the battleship Iowa in World War II and was the anti-aircraft gunner and saw combat action in the Pacific.
A historical note, my father’s side would be great grandfather, from which we derived the name Gladstone, was a Scottish immigrant with the Hudson’s Bay Company. He came in at 16 years of age in 1848. ‘Old Glad’ worked on Fort Benton, but was the primary builder of Fort Whoop-Up and also Fort McCloud. He was noted for building the first frame houses in Alberta, Canada as well as being quite a treasure trove of oral traditional stories. He died on April 11, 1911. 1911 was actually my birthday, excuse me April 8, 1911, and he was affectionately named ‘Old Glad’.
On my grandmother’s side, that’s my grandfather’s side of my dad’s side, my grandmother’s side; she was the granddaughter of Me Kay Stow. Me Kay Stow was Red Crow. Red Crow was the chief of the Blood Division of the Blackfeet Confederacy at the time of the treaty negations signing with the Canadian government in 1877, a principal signer. He was a revered warrior, orator, diplomat, statesman and lead our people from the transition from the buffalo age into the pastoral and introduction into the industrial age where people found themselves determined this last century.
Jack Gladstone is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. He is a member of the Fisheater Clan of the Blood Band and currently lives between the Flathead Valley, the Flathead Reservation, and St. Mary’s Valley. Born in Seattle, Washington to a Montana Blackfeet father and a German American mother, Jack was a scholar and athlete in high school and grew up among the rich oral tradition of the American West. His great great grandfather, Red Crow, or ‘Me Kay Stow,’ was a legendary chief of the Blood Division. He was considered a great warrior and orator. William Gladstone, another grandfather of Jack’s, was a carpenter who helped build Montana’s Fort Benton and Alberta’s Fort Whoop-Up.
Referred as the Blackfoot Nation or Blackfeet Nation, the tribe was originally located in southern Alberta, a little bit of Saskatchewan around Cypress Hills wrapping around into Montana south of Cypress down to the Yellowstone River and down into the Three Forks region at the headwaters of Missouri. The western boundary was the Rocky Mountains, also called the backbone of the world. Today the reservation is made up of 1.5 million acres and located in the northwestern part of Montana that includes most of Glacier County. Elevations vary from a low of 3,400 ft. in the southwest to a high of over 9,000 ft. at Chief Mountain on the northwest boundary. It has a rugged skyline, foothills, and drops down to short grass prairies. The buffalo and the Blackfeet had a perfect range.
Jack is a singer. He blends legend, history, and metaphor into song. From his songs to his epic ballads of historical events and biographical profiles, Jack presents a clear picture in our minds of what has transpired. Jack has had 12 albums released. They include Wolves On Sea and Plain, In the Shadow of Mt. Lassen, Buckskin Society, and his fourth album, Noble Heart, was nominated for Best Independently Produced CD by the Kerrville Music Foundation, Legacy, Buffalo Stew, Buffalo Republic, Buffalo Cafe, Tappin’ the Earth’s Backbone, Odyssey West, Mountain West Christmas, and Blackfeet Storysmith. In addition to music, he contributed a chapter in the book, War Against the Wolf, by Rick McIntyre describing an American Indian’s perspective on the wolf.
Jack holds sacred the many stories he shares that were related to him by his Blackfeet grandmother. He tells the stories that she recounted to him about her life and Blackfeet mythology. One such story is the story of the beaver medicine bundle. The sacred beaver stole the wife of one of the hunters on lower St. Mary’s Lake. The hunter was informed by his son that he must catch the beaver’s son and hold him for ransom. There had to be a civil settlement for the wrongdoing of the beaver kidnapping the hunter’s wife. The beaver’s son was captured. There was a meeting in the lodge and the exchange was made. The beaver apologizes, and to make amends, he presents the Blackfeet men with skins and songs of all the different animals of the world
Jack founded a lecture series, Native American Speaks, for Glacier National Park. The series was presented an award for excellence in the interpretation of American Indian culture by The Council for American Indian Interpretation. He earned a football scholarship to the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in speech communications. He is a teacher on the reservation at the Blackfeet College and taught public speaking for four years. He was presented a Human Rights Award for Outstanding Community Service by MSU-Northern Human Rights Committee. He is on the board of directors for a non-profit organization called Red Feather.
Jack’s informative and inspirational shows have been enjoyed by audiences in 46 states from Alaska to California and from New York to Florida. He has performed for audiences of all sizes and ages in venues ranging from small concerts to large festivals and grade schools to colleges.