|Birth: ||Oct. 31, 1944|
|Death: ||Jul. 16, 2009|
Clarence "Curly Bear" Wagner, 64, a Plains Indian Museum Advisory Board member and American Indian historian who pressed for repatriation of ancestral remains to tribes, died of cancer July 16, 2009, at the Browning, Mont., hospital on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
A cultural director for the Blackfeet Tribe, Wagner shared his culture through his travels in the U.S. and Europe, but he always considered the Blackfeet Reservation his home.
Wagner was an active member of the PIM Advisory Board at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 1993-2009. He was well known in Cody for the many educational programs in which he participated, such as the Plains Indian Museum Seminar.
He also gave numerous guest lectures and worked on oral history projects for the BBHC. Wagner was a mainstay and honored participant at the Plains Indian Museum Powwow every year since joining the PIM board, until this year when he became ill.
As a young man, Wagner was a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), participating in the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969 as well as the occupation of Wounded Knee, S.D. He became the youngest national board member of AIM at age 30.
Later, Wagner worked for the return of human remains that were released in 1988 by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and in the 1990s, the Field Museum in Chicago.
In the early 1990s, Wagner worked on an archaeological project at Ted Turner's Flying D Ranch near Bozeman to identify areas of tribal significance.
Wagner helped establish the "Native America Speaks" interpretive program at Glacier National Park and often presented the program to park visitors.
One of the region's most gifted tribal storytellers and cultural spokesmen, Wagner was known for his ability to connect with his audience, especially children, who seemed drawn to his warmth.
Wagner interviewed Blackfeet tribal elders, recording their stories, and worked to preserve sites considered sacred by the tribe.
He was born Oct. 31, 1944, to Clarence Wagner and Edna Maude Gobert Wagner in Seattle. Wagner was the great-grandson of the famous Blackfeet warrior Red Crow and the great-nephew of one of the principal chiefs of the Blood Nation, Seen From Afar. His mother died when he was 5 and Wagner was raised by his older sister Mary Jean.
Wagner was named Outstanding Athlete for two consecutive years in high school, lettering in three sports and specializing in track and field. As a high school senior he and his best friend Stan Juneau lived alone in a Browning trailer as their graduation approached.
Individual photos taken for graduation show Wagner and eight other boys wearing the same coat and tie, which were passed around for photo purposes because the boys could not afford their own.
Wagner studied at several colleges, including Western Montana, Palomar Jr. College in San Marcos, Calif., Eastern Montana and Idaho State University.
He was a Vietnam War veteran who came to dislike warm rain because it reminded him of his time in the service.
In 1994 he founded the Going-to-the-Sun Institute and began taking tourists on trips to important Blackfeet cultural sites. Wagner pressed for the preservation of his beloved Sweet Grass Hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
He is survived by two sons and two daughters.
A funeral Mass was celebrated at Little Flower Parish in Browning, followed by burial at Billedeaux Ranch in Babb, Mont.
Maintained by: caroline
Originally Created by: BrixtonWy
Record added: Jul 30, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40052750