[Bob Brown] The Board of Trustees Heritage Keeper Award recipient for Western Montana, Alfred D. Wiseman, born in Choteau in 1936, has spent his life preserving and sharing Montana’s Metis history. The descendant of Metis’ who settled along the Rocky Mountain Front, Wiseman spent his childhood listening to the stories of his mother, uncles and other elders. The go-to person for scholars studying the region’s history and the history of the Metis, Al Wiseman has consulted with Canadian scholars from both the Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont Institutes. Many graduate students, academic historians, historic preservationists and others have also relied on Wiseman’s encyclopedic knowledge and willingness to share what he knows. The consummate collaborator, Wiseman served on the steering committee for a three-day conference on Metis’ history held in 1996 in Great Falls. He was also a longtime board member of the Old Trail Museum in Choteau. His information has enriched many significant publications, including “The Whole Country Was . . . ‘One Robe’,” The Little Shell Tribe’s America. Committed to passing on his community’s history, Wiseman frequently gives tours and talks to school children and adults. He has created traveling trunks that teachers use to bring Metis history alive for students. Al has also produced maps of historic sites, including one of the Old North Trail corridor along the Rocky Mountain Front. The trail, which stretches from Siberia to Mexico, was used as long as 12,000 years ago. Many organizations have relied on Wiseman’s deep understanding of the Front’s history. He has taken innumerable people on day hikes and driving tours of the old North Trail, the Metis cemetery, which he almost single-handedly maintains, and other significant cultural sites. A founder of Metis Cultural Recovery Incorporated, Wiseman was instrumental in that organization’s oral history project. Thanks to this project, over 30 recordings and transcripts with Metis elders are now in the collection of the Montana Historical Society and the Old Trail Museum in Choteau. He was also the moving force behind the creation of the public marker describing the history of the Metis along the Rocky Mountain Front. Choteau and all of Montana continue to benefit immeasurably from the work of Al Wiseman, whose ongoing efforts and intellectual generosity make him the epitome of a Montana Heritage Keeper. [applause] Al, front and center. [applause] Step over here with me. [applause] [Alfred D. Wiseman] First of all, I’d like to greet everybody that come. This Heritage Keepers were just so kind of special thing for me. I never thought anything like this would happen to me, that’s always happened to the other guys, other person, but there’s one person that I really have to thank and that’s Julie Ameline from Choteau. She’s the manager of the Old Trail Museum, and without her nominating me for this award, I wouldn’t be standing here this evening, so I got to really thank her for what she’s done for me. Julie would you stand up, please? [applause] This is a lady that that started it all for me, and I want to thank the Montana Historical Society. I worked with them over over the years, and gave a program up here, in 1998 I think it was. I have a couple items in their footlocker programs that they check out too, over there and they they’ve been good to me. I’ve taken them out on our tours along the Front that I give and I hope they all enjoyed it, I think they did. And also I want to thank the Board of Trustees for picking me for this award because it truly is an honor. I want to thank my family for standing beside me for all I do. I’d like to thank my nephew coming clear from the Spokane area to join us for this award tonight. Would my family please stand? [applause] Thank you very much, my older people are all gone now and they would have never ever been looked at for this kind of an award. At one time, long ago, they were looked at as second-class citizens. And sometimes even worse than that, so I feel real honored to be here for that. After the rebellions in Canada, the Canadian government didn’t want the Metis people or the Little Shell people. We got into Montana and Dakotas and Minnesota. The U. S. government didn’t want our people either. U. S. government tried their best to delete us off of the map at one time, but we’re still here. [applause] Thank you. So now I have been trying and will keep on trying as long as I can, to bridge this gap. Also, I want to keep the connection going, because without a connection in all cultures, not only my culture but all cultures, when we lose our connection, we’re in trouble. This award has never, ever, been about me; it’s for all my Metis Little Shell members past and present. Also about my community, Choteau, Montana. For all that has an interest in the Montana history, thank you for coming. I am a Metis, I’m also an enrolled member in Chippewa Little Shell tribe in the state of Montana and very, very proud of it. So with that, thank you all very much and God bless. [applause]