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Blackfeet Tribe, Montana

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Arlene Hooker Fay, an artist known for her warm portraits of American Indian children who was inducted by the tribe, was found dead in her Great Falls residence Aug. 7. The frequent award winner at the annual C.M. Russell Auction of Original Western Art had been in poor health. Fay, born in 1937, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Her pastel 'Bobbi in Blue'' sold for $7,000 at this year's Russell auction, and in 2000, her pastel 'Sherry'' sold for $6,000 and was named one of the top-selling works by a living artist. Another piece, 'Marla,'' earned third place in the People's Choice Awards in the Fine Arts area at this year's Montana State Fair. 'She was at the top of the line, an equal to some of the best Western portrait artists in the country,'' Choteau artist and longtime friend Joe Halko said. She was published by Leanin' Tree greeting cards, was a frequent guest artist at many Northwest shows and taught workshops at the Frye Museum in Seattle. Fay contracted polio at age 15 and had used a wheelchair for more than 50 years