Wednesday, August 05, 2009

OBT: Annie Wall

Annie Dorothy Wall

BROWNING — Annie Dorothy (Mad Plume) Wall, 95, of Browning, died of natural causes Sunday at a Kalispell hospital.

A wake is in progress at the Glacier Homes Community Center. Her memorial service is 7 p.m. Thursday at the Four Winds Assembly of God Church in Browning. Her funeral is 11 a.m. Friday at the church, with burial in Willow Creek Cemetery. Spotted Eagle Tribal Wake Center is in charge of arrangements.

Annie was born on Badger Creek on March 10, 1914. She was named Yellow Fox Woman by her grandfather Middle Rider. Her parents were Elmer and Minnie Mad Plume. After Annie's mother died from complications of childbirth, Annie was raised in Little Badger by her maternal grandparents, Mary Spotted Bear and Tim No Runner, and her great-grandmother, Big Mountain Lion Woman.

Annie was one of the last fluent speakers of the Blackfeet language. She helped perpetuate the language by being interviewed by the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., as they developed a lexicon of Blackfeet terms for material culture. She also recorded stories of family and community life.

Annie grew up in the area that is now called the Badger-Two Medicine. She was a treasure trove of local history. She knew the names of each family who lived in that region and their society affiliations. The Blackfeet believe that names give an individual supernatural power. Annie gave names to her numerous grandchildren. Annie transferred her own name, Yellow Fox Woman, to her granddaughter Rosalyn LaPier in the early 1970s.

Annie learned many of the old ways from her two grandmothers, including the knowledge of Native plants, and was well known for her medicinal plant knowledge. She was featured in a magazine article, "Blackfeet Botanist: Annie Mad Plume Wall" in the "Montana Naturalist" magazine. Annie continued, until the last few years of her life, to go out and gather roots and berries.

Annie married Francis (Aimsback) Wall in 1936. They remained married until his death in 1973. Annie and Francis attended and participated in many Society gatherings and the annual Medicine Lodges in the Heart Butte community. Both Annie and Francis were educated at the Holy Family Mission. They eventually moved into Browning and bought a house on Willow Creek. After they moved into town, their house served as a social gathering place for friends and relatives from the Little Badger and Blacktail communities. They had 12 children and raised eight into adulthood.

Annie is survived by five generations, including her sons Francis (Shirley) Wall of Helena and Thomas Wall of Browning; and her daughters Irene Old Chief, Angeline Wall and Bernadette Wall, all of Browning, and Roselyn Azure of Cut Bank; 30 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren and 32 great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Francis; a daughter, Theresa Still Smoking; an infant daughter, Elizabeth; a son, Gilbert Wall; and three newborn sons.

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