Venne, Carl : More than 1,000 mourn Crow tribal chairman

Crow Agency, Montana (AP) 2-09

More than 1,000 people attended the funeral of Crow Tribal Chairman Carl Venne at Crow Agency, Feb. 19.

His casket was draped in an American flag and an Indian blanket for the funeral Mass celebrated in the Crow Agency multipurpose building.

Dozens of floral arrangements lined the front of the building.

Photos of Venne were displayed, including a large image of Venne in his tribal regalia chatting with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. Obama campaigned on the Crow Reservation last May and was adopted into the tribe by the Black Eagle family.


At the funeral, Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger all spoke words of praise for the tribal leader.

“To me, Carl was many things, a statesman, a leader, a veteran, an adviser and a tireless advocate for the Crow nation,” Baucus said. “Most importantly, Carl was my friend.”

Venne died Feb. 15 at his sister’s home in Hardin of natural causes stemming from heart disease. He was 62 and was the first chairman of the Crow tribe to pass away in office in more than 80 years.

Burial Feb. 19 was in the Hardin Fairview Cemetery.

Venne was a counselor at Little Big Horn Community College when he ran for the tribe’s highest elected office in 2002. He was elected to an unexpired term after former Chairman Clifford Birdinground resigned while under federal indictment. Venne was re-elected in 2004 and 2008.

Under the Crow Constitution, vice chairman Cedric Black Eagle will serve as interim chairman. The constitution requires an election within 60 days of the declaration of vacancy.