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The Tsuu T'ina Nation Profiles - Chief Joe Big Plume

Chief Joe Big Plume

Chief Joe Big Plume succeeded Chief Big Belly in 1921. Big Plume was a lifetime chief as he served the Tsuu T’ina Peoples for a time span of twenty-five years.

He is remembered for his generous spirit and wise council. Chief Big Plume encouraged his people to adapt to the changing economic milieu by learning the craft of farming and ranching. He also ensured that the people in his community were well fed during the Christmas season feast. One year he personally generated the funds for the feast by selling his hay and chopped wood. To this day, every Christmas feast is held in his honor.

The chief witnessed the suffering of his people during the economic turmoil of the dirty thirties, yet he sought to help his people. During the Glenmore negotiations of 1931, Chief Big Plume unwaveringly argued that the Tsuu T’ina would not sell their land for less than $100 an acre.

In 1928 King George V met with Chief Big Plume, in which the Chief gave him the honorary name of “Netaina,” or the one chief. Big Plume was also the first tribal leader to fly in a plane. The Chief passed away in 1946; his funeral was attended by a vast number of family members and friends of many denominations.

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