ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Babb, Montana: Complex Remembrance of Secretary Henry Stimson and Blackfoot Climbers at Nearby Chief Mountain

Updated on January 14, 2018
State flag of Montana
State flag of Montana | Source
Chief Mountain, Montana, USA
Chief Mountain, Montana, USA | Source
Chief Mountain, northern Montana
Chief Mountain, northern Montana | Source

A striking and thought-provoking locality

So I went to the US Post Office at Babb, Montana.

In fact, people have been doing this at Babb, named for an official of the US Bureau of Land Reclamation, since the year 1905: indeed, the small town built up around the post office. Babb is situated on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation, on US Highway 89. A number of outstanding features are located not far from Babb; these include Many Glacier, where a popular hotel has attracted visitors for over 100 years. Babb lies close to Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park, which straddles the US-Canada border. (A few kilometres south of Babb is St Mary, with its elongated lake, hotels and entrance to Glacier Park, and a visitor centre.)

Another well known — and, indeed, highly conspicuous — feature near Babb is Chief Mountain. The Mountain has been known by a variety of names: the Blackfoot have traditionally referred to it as Nínaiistáko; Europeans have sometimes known it as Old Chief Mountain and the explorer Merriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, called it Tower Mountain at the beginning of the 19th century, clearly because this partly Pre-Cambrian formation stands tall in the vicinity, rising to 2770 metres (9080 feet). Indeed, Chief Mountain can been seen widely across the Canadian border, and it even gives its name to an unincorporated community in Alberta, southwest of Lethbridge.

Babb, Montana
Babb, Montana | Source
Secretary for War, Henry L. Stimson, August 10, 1945
Secretary for War, Henry L. Stimson, August 10, 1945 | Source
Three Piegan (Blackfeet) chiefs, 1900
Three Piegan (Blackfeet) chiefs, 1900 | Source

Chief Mountain has been known to members of the Blackfoot nation for centuries. Interestingly, the first recorded European to climb Chief Mountain was Secretary Henry L. Stimson (1867-1950) in 1892. On that occasion he was accompanied by a member of the Blackfoot nation and two other companions.

Henry Stimson subsequently had a very distinguished career in government; he served as U.S. Secretary of War 1911-1913, as Governor-General of the Philippines 1927-1929, as U.S. Secretary of State 1929-1933, and again as Secretary of War 1940-1945. It was this last period of office which maybe proved to be somewhat controversial, especially outside the United States. This mainly because Secretary Stimson was responsible for overseeing the Manhattan Project which developed the atomic bomb, the use of which at Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9th respectively in 1945 considerably altered the context of warfare. Stimson himself was noted for wishing to expedite the use of the atomic bomb.

By way of pure speculation, it is interesting to reflect that if the U.S.-Canada border had been a very short distance south of where it actually is on the 49th Parallel then the history and context of the climbing of Chief Mountain might have been somewhat different. Instead of being known as Native Americans, Blackfoot climbers would be referred to as First Nations Canadians; but I cannot imagine a comparable Canadian personality to Henry L. Stimson unless it is C. D. ('Who would stop us?') Howe (1886-1960), the larger-than-life author of many of Canada's World War Two (and immediate post-World War Two) armaments and industrial programs. This is of course pure speculation and not very meaningful.

But I am also left wondering what would have happened, if Secretary Stimson had been more informed by a Native American sense of the harmony and unity of nature, whether he would consequently have been so keen to unleash atomic forces in the pursuit of war. Speculation can sometimes be sobering!

July 31, 2015


Locator map for Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Locator map for Blackfeet Indian Reservation | Source

Also worth seeing

Waterton, Alberta, Canada (distance: 30 miles / 48.3 kilometres; the lakeside village at the Canadian end of the Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park has a spectacular setting, overlooked by the historic Prince of Wales Hotel.


Great Falls,
Montana (distance: 160.7 miles / 258.9 kilometres); visitor attractions include: the Great Falls of the Missouri River, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, the C M Russell Museum; Gibson Park; Native Montana Art Gallery and Gift; the Great Falls Symphony Association holds regular concerts at the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts; the Great Falls Historic Trolley gives local tours from the Visitor Information Center; the Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum and Air Park; the Montana Museum of Railroad History; and many others.

Ulm, Montana (distance: 169.2 miles / 272.5 kilometres); the First Peoples' Buffalo Jump State Park contains an historic, mile-long cliff used for 600 years.

...

How to get there: Delta Airlines flies to Great Falls International Airport, Montana (distance from Babb: 162.2 miles / 261.5 kilometres) with wide North American connections, from where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR

      MJFenn 

      3 years ago

      lions44: This part of Montana is indeed a very scenic and historic area. Thank-you for your comment.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Having just passed through last July, it's nice to hear the history of the area. Great job. Many Glacier is stunning. Thx. Voted up and shared.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)