BROWNING - Doris 'Dari' Wells, 77, a member of the Blackfeet Indian Nation, died Monday, April 11, at a Great Falls hospital, of complications from cancer treatment.
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Visitation is in progress until Monday at Glacier Community Center, with rosary at 7 p.m. Sunday. Her funeral is 11 a.m. Monday at Little Flower Catholic Church, with burial in Wells Family Cemetery at Old Agency. A reception will follow at Glacier Community Center. Whitted Funeral Chapel of Shelby is in charge of arrangements.
Survivors include her children, Matthew Wanchena of Washington state, Alivia Bear Child (Richard) Montes of Oakland, Calif., Larrain Eley Big Craine of Austin, Texas, Gail Bear Child (Kenneth) Everybody Talks About, Alta Running Crane (Donald) Bird, Terrance Running Crane and Kimberlee Running Crane, all of whom live in Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Nation; 34 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren; sisters Geraldine Wells Gordon and Wilma Wells (Edward) North Peigan of East Glacier; brothers David Wells Jr., and James V. Wells of Spokane, Wash.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Doris was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Dorothy Dragonfly and Vivian Wells; brother John Buster Yellow Kidney; daughter Abigail Running Crane Green; sons James "Stormy" Bear Child and Anthony Running Crane; three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Doris was born May 20, 1933, the eldest daughter of Dave and Rose (Yellow Owl) Wells. The family ranched on Two Medicine and Blacktail until 1950, when they moved to Martin City, Mont. She attended the Cut Bank Boarding School and finished. She later studied for and received her GED, and attended Laney Community College in Oakland, Calif., and the Blackfeet Community College.
She married Lloyd Bear Child in 1950; they divorced in 1956. A later marriage to Mitchell Running Crane ended in divorce. She raised her children in San Francisco, and returned to the Blackfeet Reservation in the 1970s.
Doris worked as an advocate for women in need and at the Blackfeet Chemical Dependency Center, and as an employment counselor in California.
Doris was a member of Little Flower Catholic Church, the Women's Blackfeet Honorary Council, the Green Wood Burners and Slickfoot Societies. She belonged to the Tallow Melting Clan. She also was a member of the American Indian Movement and participated in many of the events that changed and improved the lives of Indian people and Indian Nation governments. She participated in the 1969 Occupation of Alcatraz, the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties and the 1978 Longest Walk. She loved going to California to visit her children and grandchildren, and participating in international Indian dances and gatherings there. She loved playing handgames, shopping, Indian dancing and decorating her home.
She said her greatest achievements were her relationships to the creator, her children and grandchildren, and her siblings and friends. Her greatest joy at the end of her life was the outpouring of love she experienced from her family and friends.
Condolences may be posted online at www.gftribune.com/obituaries.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Apr. 15, 2011