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Bill Whitehead

William “Sonny Bill” Whitehead, 84, of Wolf Point died on July 24, 2023, in Wolf Point.

He was born to Willliam Whitehead and Eunice Blacktail on June 10, 1939, in Fort Totten, N.D.

He had three siblings, Iris, Lyle and Rusty, and three children, Keila, Kenny and Barb.

When he was 17 years old, he sneakily tried to enlist in the U.S. Army. Upon returning at age 18, he was then stationed in France and honorably discharged in 1959. Thereafter, he received his bachelor of arts at the University of N.E. Illinois.

Throughout his teens and early 20s, he trained and broke horses and became really good at it. He played, coached and organized Native basketball games and tournaments and once played opening game for the Chicago Bulls.

He was a civil rights organizer and a progressive activist in Indian affairs his entire adult life, which was his passion. He was a co-founder of the Little Bighorn High School as well as NAES College. He was a former Montana state legislator and served on the Fort Peck Tribal Council for two terms. He was chairman of WPCO, Native American Development Corp. and ASRWSS; vice chair of FPCC; and on the board of Looking Eagle Manufacturing as well as countless other organizations. He also helped create and worked at American Indian Centers all over the country. He was a plaintiff for the Northern Coast Rivers Alliance in a suit against the U.S. State Department to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.

He is survived by his children, Keila, Kenny and Barb; brothers, Lyle and Rusty; and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Iris.

His funeral was held Thursday, Aug. 3, at the Wolf Point Community Hall. Interment was at the King Memorial Cemetery in Wolf Point. Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel of Wolf Point was entrusted with the arrangements.

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