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Storyteller Bud Cheff Jr. awarded

Prestigious heritage award presented to Bud Cheff

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News from the Montana Historical Society

MONTANA — Bev and Gene Allen, Birdie Real Bird, and Bud Cheff Jr. are the 2021 Heritage Award honorees, with A&E Design earning special recognition as the 2021 Heritage Guardian.

The Montana Historical Society Board of Trustees chose the Heritage Keepers and Guardian from a large field of nominees, noting that they were all high-caliber but these honorees rose to the top based on their contributions to Montana history.

“This was a phenomenal batch of nominees, and any would be worthy,” said longtime board member Thomas Nygard. “To have to try to pick somebody out of this bunch wasn’t an easy task, but these are truly the keepers of Montana’s heritage.”

The annual awards honor exemplary commitment, effort, and impact in identifying, preserving, and presenting Montana’s historical and cultural heritage for current and future generations. Up to three Heritage Keeper awards are given out each year.  Additionally, the Montana Heritage Guardian Award recognizes the record of accomplishment of one of the nominees, but the board reserves the right to not award it each year unless warranted by the record of outstanding achievements.

Heritage Keeper Bud Cheff, Jr., is a storyteller of the highest caliber and one of the founders of the non-profit Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana. As a young boy in the Mission Valley, Cheff spent many evenings listening to elders’ tales of adventure and legends, which kindled his lifelong passion for preserving the past and his cultural heritage.

“With great personal expense and labor, he and his wife Laurel have created the best collection of cultural and historical items displayed in Northwest Montana,” wrote Ronald Merwin in a letter of support. “The success of Bud’s passion can be realized when one reads the reviews of the visitors who pass through the museum.”

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