Indianz.Com > News > Clara Caufield: ‘Pistol-packin Mama’ fends off intruders on reservation
northern cheyenne reservation
Homes on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. Photo: Eric Gross
Cheyenne grandmother fends off home invaders
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

This is a sad column to write because it casts a poor refection on some tribal members on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. But, I am angry and disappointed, venting in this column.

Perhaps I am more upset that normal about this situation, because the elderly lady is very close to my family a cousin to my late mother but they regarded each other as sisters, very close for their entire lives. I won’t mention the ladies name as she is a highly respected elder in her 80’s and a private person.

In this column I’ll refer to her as Auntie, a term of respect for elderly women. Many of us in advanced years are aunties to many younger ones, blood ties or not.

As Native people we often talk about respecting our elders. In many ways for many of our people that is still true. For example, this past weekend I was invited to a birthday party at Crow for two young men, distant relatives and along with two other elderly woman was placed in a seat of honor at the head table, photographed with many grandchildren, served first and barely allowed to lift a finger proved with enough food to last several days.

One of the benefits of being an Indian elder is getting spoiled rotten. I like it and dearly appreciate the younger ones who are so kind. This is more often true than not.

However, there is a certain element among our younger people who have totally lost that respect, most likely due to the horrific influences or drugs, alcohol or related gangsta activities. Such was the recent experience of Auntie.

Though in frail health like most people in their mid-eighties, she is extremely resourceful and independent, living by herself in her own paid-off house in Lame Deer, surrounded by a life-time’s accumulation of treasures. Her house is quite near the Tribal office, next to a major well-lit street.

By now, every in Lame Deer knows who I write about, but they already know thanks to the moccasin telegraph now also supplemented by Facebook.

Her troubles started a few years back. Relying upon wood heat, her firewood was stacked right by the front door, kept dry by a tarp. When that supply began mysteriously dwindling, one of her sons installed motion-activated lights which deterred the wood thieves for a while.

Then, a few years back when Auntie returned from a quick trip to the nearby Post Office, she surprised two home invaders who were literally carrying her T.V. out the front door. They dropped the T.V. and ran off.

That’s when Auntie became a pistol-packin Mama. Thankfully so, because recently she was awakened by thief’s trying to break into her house during the night.


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Clara Caufield can be reached at

Note: Copyright permission Native Sun News Today