GROWN UP WEST children of the blackfeet reservation


 

Heather’s Family 

In their first year of marriage, Heather (27) and Shaw (32) Momberg struggled to establish a safe and stable home for their four daughters, Joelnell (12), Kyla  (10), Lanaiya (6), and Talhia (1). After the couple’s wedding in September 2012, they moved into the home of Heather’s mother, Carol No Runner, in the small rural community of Starr School, on the Blackfeet Reservation. In Starr School, the Mombergs became the target of escalating harassment by neighborhood kids. One evening, Carol watched a group of miscreants break her into her car, so she called the police and the offenders’ parents, who did nothing. To retaliate, the gang redoubled their efforts by throwing rotten eggs and fireworks at the house, dumping trash in their yard and spray-painting profanity on the walls. After a brick was thrown through their kitchen window, landing 3 feet from sleeping newborn, Talhia, the family had to leave, fearing for their safety. Heather and Shaw purchased property in the country, outside of the reservation and transplanted their home. Although the move put the family into debt, they are grateful to feel safe and secure in their new surroundings. Now Heather’s goal is to earn a doctorate degree in nursing so she can provide a better future for her family and her community. She works full-time for the Indian Health Service, while Shaw cares for the children and renovates their home. Shaw’s ultimate dream is to work full time as a stunt man in Hollywood action films. He has stunt-acted in Westerns shot in Montana and New Mexico including Disney’s The Lone Ranger, as well as a docudrama about the life of Sacajawea. The family is undecided if they will be able to afford the move.

 

Heather and her oldest daughter Lanaiya (age 5) share a moment the week before Heather and Shaw's wedding.
Starr School,, Montana
Blackfeet Reservation
Heather's daughters, Lanaiya (age 5) and infant Tahlia (2 months).
East Glacier, Blackfeet Reservation
Heather gets her daughter, Lanaiya (age 5) ready in her traditional Blackfeet dress.
East Glacier, Blackfeet Reservation
Heather's mother, Carol allows Lanaiya to practice her Blackfeet dance with special Golden Eagle feathers.
East Glacier, Blackfeet Reservation
Blackfeet wedding ceremony of Shaw Momberg (32) and Heather Schildt (27) at a the Bison Creek Ranch outside of Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet Reservation on September 15, 2012.

Rose and Reggie Crowshoe, spiritual leaders from the Canadian Blackfoot tribe (in the Blackfeet language: Piikani- Apotosi piitani) preside over the traditional marriage ceremony.
Heather and Shaw reflect on the ups and downs of their first year after marriage in their new home outside of Starr School on the Blackfeet Reservation.  The couple struggles to raise their four daughters:
Ronelle (8), Kayla (6), Lanaiya (5) and Talhia (1) while Heather finishes school and Shaw pursues his dream of being a stunt man in Hollywood Blockbusters.
Heather organizes the family bills and expenses.
Shaw works to upgrade their transplanted house by replacing the original electric wiring
The couple struggles to raise their four daughters:
Ronelle (8), Kayla (6), Lanaiya (5) and Talhia (1) while Heather finishes school and Shaw pursues his dream of being a stunt man in Hollywood Blockbusters.
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