National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Jesse DesRosier, Vet Voice Foundation

Jesse DesRosier, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, was born and raised on the Blackfeet reservation. His Blackfeet name, "Aasinaipoyii," means "he who speaks Cree," and was given to him when he was three years old by his great-great grandmother. This was a name also given to an ancestor of his who was known for being multilingual, and Cree being one of the languages he spoke. DesRosier attended the Niitsipuwahsin, or real speak school, on the reservation, which is a Blackfeet language immersion school educating children in their native tongue. In the late 1990's, he and a fellow classmate traveled to Washington D.C., along with the late Darell R. Kipp (co-founder of Niitsipuwahsin), to testify on a language grant supported by then Senator Inouye. After graduating from the immersion school, he attended Browning High School, earning his diploma in 2007. The following year, he joined the United States Marines, serving around the world (mostly in the Pacific) for four years. After returning home, he worked in and out of state until moving to Missoula.

In 2012, DesRosier joined Vote Voice, a branch of Vet Voice, where he campaigned for Senator John Tester in his election to United States Senate. In the summer of 2013 he traveled to Washington D.C., to lobby for the protection of wildlife and proposed wilderness areas for Veterans health. Currently, he is a sophomore at the University of Montana, Missoula, studying and exploring various fields to expand his opportunities. DesRosier continues to work on, and contribute to, the revitalization of his native language "Blackfeet".

DesRosier will be speaking at the National Wilderness Conference on Thursday, October 16th as part of the following: American Indian Welcome and Blessing from Sandia Pueblo (invited) and Wilderness Today; Wilderness Tomorrow with keynote speakers Jesse DesRosier, Vet Voice Foundation; Chris Barns, Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center; Sylvia Earle, oceanographer