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Jack Gladstone receives award, grant

by Daily Inter Lake
| February 19, 2016 5:45 AM

First Peoples Fund, a national organization supporting Native American artists, has named Jack Wallace Gladstone of East Glacier as one of seven recipients of the 2016 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award.

A nationwide committee selected the honorees; each award includes a $7,500 no-strings-attached grant.

“This honor is given to a small number of artists each year to recognize their exceptional passion, wisdom and dedication to passing on ancestral knowledge in their tribal communities,” said Lori Pourier, First Peoples Fund president.

Gladstone, a Blackfeet musician widely known as “Montana’s troubadour,” is a performance artist whose music and storytelling have reached students across the state with traditional tales and life lessons for 30 years.

“Throughout my life’s passage, family, tribal and academic mentors have nurtured me,” Gladstone said.

“Through the realm of mytho-poetic and historical tradition, I have been drawn to and strengthened by the power of stories. Stories that inform. Stories that inspire. Stories ... that heal. Through the composition of lyrical portraits, I reconnect with our common tribal heritage. Within our human core, we’re all indigenous.”

Patti Bartlett of Seeley Lake nominated Gladstone for the award.

“Jack shares Montana’s indigenous heritage with students and communities through story and song, prompting people of all ethnicities to reflect upon their own identities and encouraging them to trace their own ancestral paths,” Bartlett said.

“The Community Spirit Awards honors artists not for their individual achievements but for how their work benefits the collective good,” said Sherry Salway Black, formerly of the National Congress of American Indians and president of First Peoples Fund’s board of directors. “These are people who have in many cases spent their lives working with humility and selflessness to sustain the cultural fabric of a community.”

First Peoples Fund has been honoring culture bearers with the award for 17 years and nearly 100 artists from Maine to Alaska have received it. The award is named for First Peoples Fund’s founder, Jennifer Easton. The honorees will gather for a special celebration gala in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Oct. 8.