FORT BELKNAP AGENCY - Donald Edward “Turkey” Birdtail, 70, died Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006, at Benefis East Hospital in Great Falls due to respiratory failure.
Wake and rosary were to be held Sunday evening in the Red Whip Center. A funeral Mass was to be held today at 11 a.m. in the Red Whip Center with burial following at the Birdtail Family Cemetery at Lodge Pole.
He was born on June 17, 1935, at the Birdtail residence near Lodge Pole to James and Alvina (Morsette) Birdtail Sr. Midwife Ghost Calf delivered Donald. Donald was given the Gros Ventre name Eating Bear by Curly Head. He was raised in the Lodge Pole area and attended school there.
Donald worked for ranchers in the area and enjoyed spending his time trapping beavers, minks, muskrats, weasels and coyotes. He also worked for the railroad on the Hi-Line and in Yakima, Wenatchee, Brewster and Omak, Wash. Donald raised two grandsons the Indian way, Ted and Justine Bear of Fort Belknap.
He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters and one brother.
Survivors include his brothers, Emerson Birdtail of Fort Belknap, Leon Birdtail of Pocatello of Idaho, Gordon, Tyrone “Rocky,” Vincent and Myron Birdtail, all of Spokane, Wash.; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and Indian way grandchildren.
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.