Darrell Kipp has inspired VISIONS teens and leaders since our first summer on the Montana Blackfeet Indian reservation, in 1991. Darrell died this past month at the age of 69. He was a leader among Native people and known internationally for his groundbreaking work revitalizing native languages.
Apiniokio Peta, or Morning Eagle, was Darrell’s Blackfoot name. He was born and raised on the Blackfeet Reservation, and his grandfather was a survivor of the Baker Massacre.
Darrell was a Harvard scholar, documentary filmmaker, teacher, and cofounder of the Piegan Institute, which works to increase cultural knowledge and preserve native languages. One of the Institute’s impressive projects is the Cuts Wood School, which effectively has brought back the Blackfoot language among kids who attend this K-8 immersion school.
Over the years, VISIONS teens have completed a few projects at Cuts Wood, including the construction of a playground and large snow fence. More important, however, has been the engagement with Darrell. Over twenty-two summers, he spoke to dozens of VISIONS groups about Blackfeet history, native languages, and what it means to face and work through the social, economic, and educational issues in one’s community.
“He challenged us and inspired us,” wrote one of our leaders in a post remembering Darrell.