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Blackfeet students are inspired by Lily Gladstone

Lily Gladstone impacts students of the Blackfeet tribe
Posted at 2:17 PM, Mar 27, 2024

In a world where representation matters more than ever, actress Lily Gladstone has emerged as a beacon of inspiration for Browning students, both in education and culture. Known for her role in the critically acclaimed film, "Killers of the Flower Moon,” Gladstone's impact extends beyond the silver screen and into the hearts and minds of students.

As a member of the Blackfeet tribe, Gladstone brings a unique perspective to her craft, infusing authenticity and depth into her performances. This authenticity resonates deeply with Browning students. Seeing someone like Gladstone excel in the entertainment industry serves as a powerful reminder that their voices and stories are valid and worthy of being heard.

Native American Studies teacher Jocelyn Zielle says that she can already tell a difference in the way her students are inspired to learn. “Lily inspires our student by just being from here, and she makes them feel like they can do anything that they set their minds to.”

Marci Burd, the first-grade Blackfeet immersion teacher at Stamiksiitsiikin (Bullshoe) Elementary in Browning, added, “When they have seen Lily on the national TV, you know, speaking Blackfeet, it made them proud – just influenced by her. And it made them want to talk more and just be a lot more proud of who they are.”

At Lily Gladstone day hosted by the Blackfeet Nation, students from several schools got an opportunity to say prayers to Lily, with most speaking to her in Blackfeet.

When asked why they are inspired and want to grow up to be like Lily, several students like Skyleigh Juneau, Blake and Hartley Sinclair, June Cleveland, and Adelaide Shooter of Stamiksiitsiikin Elementary said they liked that she speaks Blackfeet.

In an industry where diversity and inclusion are still evolving concepts, Lily Gladstone stands out as a trailblazer, paving the way for future generations of Indigenous artists and scholars. Her presence serves as a source of inspiration and hope for Browning students, reminding them that their cultural heritage is a source of strength and pride.

Blackfeet Nation honors Lily Gladstone with headdress

Jack Royal, the Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council CEO said, “There's a lot of history and strength in the culture, but also these kids will see there's opportunities. Doors are opening and there's possibilities. And you can dream, you know, and dream big.”