We have learned from Jill Norwood at the National Museum of the American Indian that “we have lost a friend and a champion of the early movement to
promote tribal museums, George Horse Capture, Sr. on April 16.”

Below is the
obituary submitted by his family:

GREAT FALLS, MONTANA- The Creator has called George Paul
Horse Capture Sr., “Nay Gyagya Nee” (Spotted Otter), 75, to the Big Sands on
April 16, 2013. He was born and raised in Montana, a proud member of the
A’aninin (Gros Ventre) tribe. He passed away from acute renal failure,
complications of diabetes and congestive heart failure at his home in Great
Falls, Montana surrounded by family. A family wake will be held at Mark and
Elizabeth Azure’s home at Fort Belknap Agency on Friday April 19 at 5 PM. The
community wake will be held at the Red Whip Center, Fort Belknap Agency,
Montana on Saturday April 20th at 5 PM and his funeral service will be held at
the same location on Sunday April 21 at 11 AM. Burial will follow at the Fort
Belknap Agency Cemetery. A feed will follow the burial.


George was born in a log cabin in Little Chicago on the
Fort Belknap Indian Reservation on Oct. 20, 1937. He lived there with his
grandmother and cousins, attending school in Harlem, and then continuing his
education in Butte while living with his mother. He served in the U.S. Navy as
a Ship-fitter for 4 years and after being honorably discharged he enrolled in
welding school in the San Francisco Bay area. After working as a welder’s
helper for 5 years he applied for and became the youngest State Steel Inspector
and only minority person at that time for the State of California. Indian
activism was a strong topic in the late 1960’s and George participated in the
Alcatraz occupation. That experience prompted his enrollment at the University
of California-Berkeley where he obtained his Bachelors in Anthropology.

After graduating from Berkeley, he moved to Montana and
taught at the College of Great Falls from 1974-77, attending Montana State
University-Bozeman from 1977-79; where he received his Masters of History
degree.


He became one of the first Native American curators in
the country when he accepted the position of Curator of the Plains Indian
Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center Cody, Wyoming in 1979. During his
tenure, George organized important exhibitions like “Wounded Knee: Lest We
Forget” and “PowWow.” He also organized the Plains Indian
Seminars that allowed Indian people and Anglos to exchange ideas and present
new scholarly material. George worked closely with Indian tribes throughout the
Northern Plains insuring that their voice was heard in a museum setting. He
founded the first powwow grounds associated with a museum in the country.
Annual celebrations continue to be held at the Joe Robbie Powwow Gardens.

In 1994, he became the Deputy Assistant Director for
Cultural Resources at the National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian
Institution, and later, Senior Counselor to the Director. During his ten years
at NMAI, he was instrumental in the organizing and presentation of the new
facility on the Mall in Washington, D.C. He was also an advocate for
repatriation that resulted in the returning of many sacred objects to the
appropriate tribes. He retired in 2004 but continued to consult for many
museums, lecture, publish, and powwow.


He has received numerous awards and honors for his work,
including: Honorary Doctorate of Letters, Montana State University-Bozeman;
Humanities Award, Montana Committee of the Humanities; Presidential Appointee
to the National Museum Services Board; and a member of the Montana Committee
for the Humanities.


He is widely published and known as an international
expert on Native American art, culture, and history. He also produced a film
and television program. His work includes “I’d Rather Be Powwowing”
and “Indian Country.” He took great pride in completing his life-long
work of creating the Tribal Archive Project, a database that includes
information from worldwide museum sources about the A’aninin. Throughout his
career, he firmly believed in empowering Indian people. He was close to the
A’aninin’s tribal brothers, the Northern Arapaho. He was a keeper of tradition
and knowledge in the Horse Capture family, and fulfilled his Sundance vows. He
was a mentor to many.


He was also a man of dichotomies. He loved to travel as
long as he didn’t have to walk too far. He loved great simple Native American
food and French cuisine.


George has four children from previous marriages, George
Jr. (Theresa), Joseph (Lisa), Daylight (Mike), and Peter. He married the love
of his life, Kay-Karol, on March 28, 1984. His was known as “Grandpa
Braids” by his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His
grandchildren include Elizabeth (Mark), William, Sage, Valerie, Etanan, Dasah,
White Bird, Singer, Cameron, and Red Willow. His surviving sisters include
Carol Chandler, Caroline Yellowrobe, and many other loved ones. He made many
great friends over the years.

George was preceded in death by his father and mother,
Joseph Horse Capture and Carmen Falcon Deane; stepfather, Peter Deane;
brothers, Joseph Rael Horse Capture, Gary Horse Capture, Emery Gray; sister
Carmen-Jean Falcon; and grandfather and grandmother, Paul and Clementine Horse
Capture.

Powwowing was in his soul. He truly loved to powwow and
danced as much as he could. He enjoyed eating snow cones, greasy hamburgers,
and Indian tacos. He loved to visit friends and relatives at celebrations. His
emotions would swell when he heard the emcee announce during the Grand Entry,
“All the dancers have entered the arena.”

See also LA Times, Great Falls Tribune, Boston Globe, Indian Country Today.


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