James Willard Schultz (Apikuni)
John Reddy, a professional photographer out of Helena, Montana, and I were on a photo shoot in Glacier National Park. Weather wasn’t the most satisfactory. Haze, which probably was smoke blowing in from fires in Washington, filled the valleys and muted the sharpness of the magnificent peaks surrounding us. Clouds, too, obscured the sun and left us with overcast skies.
But we had made the best of it that morning shooting waterfalls near the Weeping Wall and were heading back toward the town of Saint Mary on Going-to-the-Sun Road when we came upon the turnoff to Rising Sun Motor Inn and decided it was time to get a bite to eat and plan out the rest of day.
The decision was fortunate. Lunch was simple and not particularly noteworthy. But stopping there led to the discovery of a book by a favorite author, James Willard Schultz (1859-1947) who also bore the Blackfoot name of Apikuni.
Schultz, while visiting with his Uncle in St. Louis, Missouri in 1877, met first hand the trappers, hunters and adventurers who traveled the Upper Missouri River into Montana. Listening to their stories of adventures inspired him to go to Montana himself where he eventually took up with the Blackfeet, learning their ways and living among them. He eventually became a writer of their stories and authored 37 books about the Blackfeet including his most famous, My Life as an Indian.
The book I found is a 2002 paperback edition of Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park published by Riverbend Publishing of Helena. I bought two copies. One I gave to John Reddy in appreciation of the time we shared during our three-day photo shoot. The other, I brought home as an addition to my modest collect of books by Schultz and as a companion to my First Edition copy of the same title published in 1916 by Houghten Mifflen Company which carries the following inscription in Schultz’s own hand:
“After these years, those with whom I camped while writing this tale, have nearly all gone to the ‘Sand Hills’. James Willard Schultz, Glacier Park, July 27, 1926″
An inscription written almost 82 years to the July date on which I bought the two paperback copies.