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Merle Tendoy - In Loving Memory

1958 -2020

MCCLR Co-founder

Chippewa Cree/Shoshone

Merle was a Tribal Elder of Chippewa Cree Tribe.

In his own words, “As one of the last fluent Cree speakers I’d like to preserve our language. I want our future generations to be able to pray, conduct our ceremonies and call the spirits by name in the Cree Language. Without our Cree Language many of our ceremonies will fade away.”


Dustin Whitford

Executive Director

Chippewa Tribe

Dustin is Executive Director and Co-Founder of MCCLR, Mahchiminahtik Chippewa and Cree Language Revitalization


"To honor our ancestors who brought us to the sacred Bear Paw Mountains to call our home, we must revitalize our sacred languages, which within themselves are alive and have the power to heal. We owe it to our children and future generations to make sure they have our Creator given languages to identify themselves as Chippewa and Cree.”


John Murie

Board President

Chippewa Cree and Pawnee

 John is an art instructor at the Stone Child College.

“I wanted to be a part of this program because I think our Cree and Chippewa languages are important in many ways. We need it to be secure as a tribe. We need it to stay connected to our past and to move into the future in a healthy way. Most importantly, we need it to communicate with our kind Heavenly Father.”

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Brenda St. Pierre

Vice- President

Chippewa Cree

Brenda is a Cree Language Instructor at Rocky Boy Elementary School, and Co-Founder of MCCLR.


We come from strong, resilient people. It is all of our job to keep our language and our way of life. I’m proud to be Native.”


Jason Belcourt


Chippewa Cree

Jason is Sustainability Coordinator for the Chippewa Cree Tribe.


“Our languages as native peoples have faced many devastating adversities from annihilation to assimilation and everything in between but we cannot be the generation that lets it go. It is who we are.”

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Clyde Brown


Chippewa Cree

Clyde is the Clinical Data Analyst at Rocky Boy Clinic.


“Some us were fortunate to be surrounded by the Cree language. Hearing elders speak, tease, pray and cry in the Cree language certainly makes an impression on you. We now realize that this beautiful and important part of our identity is on life support and many of us realize that we are the sons and daughters speakers and are we going to allow our language to die because we watched it go? Language is a living thing: it grows and changes, and every time a child learns it, the language reproduces itself. It is going to take an extraordinary effort to save our beautiful language and all of my colleagues are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to do so!”


Earl Arkinson

Member at Large

Chippewa Cree

Earl is a Tribal Elder of the Chippewa Cree Tribe.

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Jesse Big Knife

Member at Large

Chippewa Cree

Jessie is the Assistant Attorney General of the Chippewa Cree Tribe.


“Not only is our language vital to our Chippewa Cree People but it is essential to our cultural survival.”

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Russell "Rusty" Gopher

Member at Large

Chippewa Cree

“I've been a Cree speaker my entire life. I picked up English being the youngest of nine siblings. In my 62 years, I've seen, heard and felt the beauty, strength and significance of our Cree language. I've worked on Cree curriculum in my years with the school and college. I've served on the tribal council, cultural committees and various boards.


I've seen countless changes in our community over numerous decades and it's time to work toward affording future generations the language and culture that brought our first leaders to our home.”

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