Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Reservation Dogs: Strange diseases are spreading in Blackfeet Country. Can canines track down the culprits?


December 23, 2022

Sully is a black-haired border collie and retriever mutt. Grist / Zoya Teirstein

The sun is setting in Glacier County, Montana. Souta Calling Last guns her diesel-powered white GMC pickup truck east on Highway 2.

The car following her can barely keep up as she hurtles across the dimming prairie, one hand resting lightly on the steering wheel, her eyes scanning the side of the highway. Calling Last, a researcher and an enrolled member of the Blood Tribe - one of the four nations that make up the Blackfoot Confederacy - grew up on the Blackfeet reservation. She knows this landscape by heart. 

Editors Note: This story was originally published by Grist. You can subscribe to its weekly newsletter here. Used with permission. All rights reserved. 

"There it is," she says and yanks the steering wheel to the right, sending a plume of dust into the air as she brakes hard on the gravel shoulder. The Two Medicine River, sacred to the Amskapi Pikuni, the Blackfeet, rushes nearby. A couple of minutes later, a gray Toyota slowly pulls in behind the GMC and rolls to a stop. The words "Working Dogs for Conservation" are printed on its side in block letters. A volley of excited yips and whines rings out from the truck bed.


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