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MT Mother of the Year® Receives Congressional ‘Spirit of Montana’ Award

May 30, 2024

Release courtesy of Congressman Greg Gianforte’s Office

Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized Betty Cooper of Browning with his Spirit of Montana commendation for her dedication to family, advocacy for mental health services, and leadership in the Indian community.

Cooper, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe, was named Montana’s 2019 Mother of Year by American Mothers, a non-profit organization founded in 1935.

A recognized advocate for family services, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment and prevention programs, Cooper helped establish the Pikuni Family Healing Center in Starr School, Montana.

Gianforte’s Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte highlights the recipient in the U.S. House of Representatives and personally contacts the honoree.

Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by e-mail at https://gianforte.house.gov/contact/email.

Gianforte’s statement in the Congressional Record follows:

RECOGNIZING BETTY COOPER OF BROWNING

Madam Speaker, with Mother’s Day around the corner, I rise today to honor Betty Cooper of Browning for her advocacy for families and mental health services as well as for being named Montana’s 2019 Mother of the Year by American Mothers.

Betty Cooper is the mother of five, a grandmother, and an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe. She was born and raised in Browning. In 1963, Betty moved to the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and children. There, she became involved in substance abuse prevention and treatment in the Indian community. She helped establish the American Indian Family Healing Center in Oakland, CA, and served as director for a decade.

Returning home to Montana, she helped establish the Pikuni Family Healing Center in Starr School.

Betty was among over two dozen prominent Native American advocates featured in Surviving in Two Worlds: Contemporary Native American Voices, a book by Lois Crozier-Hogle and Darryl Babe Wilson.

Betty has served on the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council and has been an advocate for individuals with mental illness.

American Mothers, a non-profit organization founded in 1935, named Betty Montana’s Mother of the Year® for 2019. In her recent address at the group’s annual meeting, Betty said, “Love our children; look them in the eye; hug them close and tell them you love them. When a child knows they are loved, everything else falls in place. Each of our children is a gift to us from the Creator.”

Madam Speaker, truer words were never spoken.

Madam Speaker, for her dedication to family, advocacy for mental health services, and leadership in the Indian community, I recognize Betty Cooper for her spirit of Montana.