In my line of work as a mental health counselor I have met my fair share of interesting and colorful characters, but I have never met anyone who demanded to keep their brother’s bones in a sack.
This is the story about the Native American name for Flinsch Peak in the Two Medicine Valley just above Dawson Pass.
Flinsch Peak (9,225 ft. / 2812 m.) was named for a young Austrian, Rudolf Ernst Ferdinand Flinsch, who came to the area in 1892 with Dr. Walter B. James to hunt mountain goats. They were guided in the area by William Jackson the namesake of Mount Jackson.
Flinsch was quite surprised later when he looked at a new map of the area and found his name on a peak. It used to be called Flinsch’s Peak.
The proposed Native American name for this peak was No Chief Mountain.
No Chief must have been quite a character and was more superstitious than most of his contemporaries. This caused problems with some of his wives.
Here is the story as James Willard Schultz told it.
No Chief was said to be a great Piegan warrior who led many raid against the Crows. In one particular raid his younger brother Little Antelope came along and No Chief went against a vision that was given to him.
In the vision No Chief saw bodies of Piegan warriors lying in the underbrush, but he did not see their faces because he awoke before he could see them. He shared his vision with his party and most of them including Little Antelope did not want to turn back. In fact, Little Antelope stated that if No Chief truly loved him he would lead them up the valley.
No Chief could not refuse his brother’s request and he lead the party on foot toward the enemies’ camp. Eventually, the party was discovered by a great number of Crow warriors on horseback.
A battle ensued and Little Antelope and other Piegans were killed. No Chief fought bravely and led his force against the Crows to ensure that they did not scalp and dishonor on the Piegan dead. The dead were recovered and buried properly.
Months later No Chief went back to seek revenge. He stole a number of prized horses and belongings as well as counted coup on his enemy. He returned with his spoils and a bag that he refused to let anyone else handle.
He entered his lodge with the bag and told his three wives, who were sisters, that the bag contained the bones of his fallen brother Little Antelope. His wives then feared for their safety and only his oldest wife remained in the lodge. Eventually the other wives came back as well after they decided that Little Antelope was kind in life so they had nothing to fear from his bones.
No Chief began to speak to his brother’s bones as if Little Antelope were alive. Some believed that the bones carried on a conversation with No Chief as well.
When No Chief died he was buried with his brother’s bones.
In conclusion, if someone you know wants to sleep with his brother’s bones try to steer clear of them. No Chief’s wives came back but I know of very few wives who would tolerate this in today’s culture.
Do you want to learn more about the history of Glacier National Park? I am on a quest to learn more and I would be glad to help find answers to your questions. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can find out.
In the meantime, make sure you check out What They Called It. This book features stories about the names along Going-to-the-Sun Road and is available on my website.
The story featured in today’s post can be found in Volume 2 of What They Called It that is planned for released in the Fall of 2015.
Thanks for joining me on this quest for the story behind the History.
© Montana Outdoor Guidebooks, 2015