Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leader Passes Away - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leader Passes Away

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BILLINGS - The Executive Director of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council passed away.

Gordon Belcourt, 68, died on Monday at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings of an extended illness.

Belcourt, who grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation, attended law school at the University of Montana.

In addition to serving as the long-time Executive Director of the Tribal Leaders Council since 1998, Belcourt helped establish a regional Tribal Institutional Review Board to better protect the rights of Native Americans and pursued numerous initiatives aiming to improve the quality of life in Indian Country.

In a statement released on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Jon Tester said Gordon Belcourt "leaves big shoes to fill."

"Gordon was a tremendous leader and advocate for Indian Country," Senator Tester went on to day. "A trusted and experienced voice, Gordon could always be counted on to use common-sense to get to the heart of the issue and find a solution. He leaves big shoes to fill, and he will be missed by all Montanans."

Tester worked with Belcourt on numerous issues to improve Indian Country, including infrastructure projects, permanently reauthorizing the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act, and creating the Tribal Law and Order Act.

A funeral for Belcourt will be held at the Little Flower Parish in Browning at 10 a.m. On Friday. Prior to that, a rosary will be held for him at the Starr School Gym on the Blackfeet Reservation at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

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