|Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, 943-498|
Monday, August 11, 2014
Sixteen-year-old Frank Linderman left Chicago for the Flathead Valley wilderness in 1885. He became a friend to the Indians and viewed encroaching civilization firsthand. Linderman’s passionate desire was to preserve the old West, especially Montana, in printer’s ink. Linderman did it all. He was a trapper, trader, assayer, newspaperman, businessman, insurance agent, and state legislator. He was an advocate of Indian causes.
Through his efforts, along with Charlie Russell and other friends, Congress created the Rocky Boy’s Reservation for landless members of several Chippewa and Cree bands. Native American leaders respected Linderman’s active support, and through “sign talk,” he shared their histories, customs, and stories. From 1898 to 1905, Linderman edited the Sheridan Chinook in a building that Charles Bovey later rescued and placed at Nevada City. In 1917, Linderman built a cabin in Lake County where he authored many books, stories, and articles, among them the highly acclaimed biography of the Crow chief, Plenty Coups. His accurate portrayals led Plenty Coups to conclude, “I am glad I have told you these things, Sign Talker. You have felt my heart, and I have felt yours.” Frank Linderman is one of the treasures of the Treasure State.