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Cecil Crawford: Artist & teacher


Meet Oh-mak-ah-tai-yu nee-tsi-tsi, “5/8 Blackfeet and 3/8 starving artist,” also known as Cecil B. Crawford.

What is the meaning of Cecil’s Blackfeet name, one may ask? The translation is “Big cat with stripes in the forest,” or, as Cecil dryly announces, “Tiger Woods.”


Cecil is a member of MMCEO (Merged Missoula Classified Employees Organization) who works as a bilingual tutor in the Native American Studies program at Hellgate High School during the school year and as physical plant engineer during the summer months.


Cecil also serves as director-at-large on the MEA-MFT Board of Directors.

Asked how long he’s been with Missoula County Public Schools, Cecil replied that he started about 10-12 years ago “when the berries were ripe.” He said he could probably figure out exactly how long he’s had the job, but “time flies when you’re having fun!”

After serving in the Army, Cecil returned to the reservation and vowed never to leave again. So what is he doing in Missoula?


As he tells the story, he had a dream, and in his dream he saw himself in a classroom teaching Native American students. He decided to move to Missoula at about that time. Within a few years, he found himself in the classroom teaching a Blackfeet language program. The rest, as they say, is history.


Lest we forget that 3/8 starving artist in Cecil, drop by the downtown Staggering Ox in Missoula if you get a chance. Sometime soon, he’ll have quite a few paintings on display. Cecil is also a ceramic and comic artist and does beadwork, to name just a few of his talents.


Read about other Amazing MEA-MFT members.