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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A touching scene played out at the little Kalispel tribal mission near Cusick.

The Rev. Louis Taelman, known to the tribe as “good Louie” because of his many ministrations to the small tribe, arrived there and made an announcement: He was leaving his post as president of Gonzaga University and heading to a new post as the superior of a mission on the Crow reservation in eastern Montana.

“I did not tell the Indians that I was coming to bid them farewell until I arrived,” he said. “Immediately messengers set out into the mountains where the tribesmen were picking huckleberries and carried the word that I was at the mission. That same evening, practically every member of the tribe was there.”

One woman, 75, broke her arm in her haste to mount her horse. But she showed up anyway.

Taelman said that “the old blind chief, Massalah (Masselow), who is past 88 years old, spoke in sad words of my departure and gave assurance that he and his people would meet me in heaven.”

At the end of the impromptu ceremony, “the entire tribe marched before me and each Indian shook my hand.” He gave them each a “blessed medal” to remember him by.



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