Montana Grass Songs

By Fort Kipp Singers

When the Fort Kipp Singers' drum with its painted buffalo head is carried into any Northern Plains Pow-Wow in the United States or Canada, happy anticipation fill the spirits of dancers and listeners alike – for their group has built a solid reputation. Here is pow-wow singing and drumming of the highest caliber.

Lead singer is Matt Black Dog, whose voice is sure and whose extensive repertoire has been acquired by long years of singing at major pow-wows and celebrations. Jim Black Dog, Jr. has not only composed many of the songs for this group, but is rated as one of the outstanding drum stylists of the Norther Plains.

Archie Bearcub, Sr. and Jerry White Cloud hold positions as noteworthy seconds.

A trademark of the Fort Kipp Singers is the sound of the pheasant, performed on this record by Gary Red Eagle. This specialty was originated by this group, and calls to the mind of the listener this familiar bird call heard any evening on the Northern Plains. This Fort Kipp origination has been often imitated by other groups, but never surpassed.

Others filling roles to complete this well-matched, unified drum are Gary Drum, Clifford Young Bear, and Ben Gray Hawk, Jr. The group, all veterans, have sung together for several years, and have taken many prizes in the United States and Canada.

Life is not all song for these talented men. As heads of families, they have also a place in their communities, the Fort Kipp area of the Fort Peck Reservation in northern Montana, or in nearby towns. Their occupations are varied and important. They are engaged in ranching, in police work, in railroading. Some are in the trades – mechanics, carpentry. Others are skilled gunsmiths in the ordnance plant on the Reservation.


The Fort Peck Reservation is make up of northern Dakota Sioux and Assiniboine tribesmen. A number of Cree families and Turtle Mountain Chippewas also reside on this land with them. Although some of the Native American people are engaged in ranching and agricultural work, much of the Reservation land is leased out to non-Indian stockmen. Oil is a tribal resource, and oil royalty income is important in tribal finances. The Oil Celebration, the largest public event, is held each summer at Poplar, and the Fort Kipp Singers can always be heard there as a host drum.

Play song


Performed by


Native Words



Grass Song 1 Sioux
Grass Song 2 Sioux
Grass Song 3 Sioux
Grass Song 4 Sioux
Grass Song 5 Sioux
Grass Song 6 Sioux
Grass Song 7 Sioux
Grass Song 8 Sioux
Grass Song 9 Sioux
Grass Song 10 Sioux