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GREAT FALLS — The great-great grandsons of an Ojibwa American Indian who received a 13-star flag from U.S. soldiers in the early 19th century are arguing over who should assume guardianship of the treasured relic.

The family dispute between brothers Mike and Glen Gopher was heard Monday by District Judge Thomas McKittrick, the Great Falls Tribune reports.

The flag was given to members of the Ojibwa tribe in Minnesota, according to oral tradition passed down through the Gopher family, who are members of the Little Shell Band of the Chippewa tribe, Mike Gopher says.

His brother disputes that. Glen Gopher says the family does not belong to the Little Shell and that the family received the flag in Michigan, not Minnesota.

During the hearing, Mike Gopher said the flag was given to his great-great grandfather as an offering of peace. The Ojibwa were told that they could show the flag at U.S. forts and get guns and ammunition.

The flag was passed down to the Gophers' father, Robert Gopher, who left it to his wife, Dorothy, when he died in 1998.

Ten years later, Dorothy died without a known will. The flag remains in a safe deposit box and the court was asked to decide who should have the keys.

Mike Gopher believes the flag should be in the guardianship of the Little Shell.

"We were entrusted with a very sacred undertaking," Mike Gopher said.

Glen Gopher said the flag should remain under the guardianship of the Gopher family.

"She (Dorothy) left the flag to the family, not to these people," Glen Gopher said in gesturing to a group seated on Mike Gopher's side of the court.

McKittrick said he would reconvene the hearing in about a month and urged the brothers to obtain legal counsel. He also encouraged them to reach an agreement both sides could live with.

"I can tell you that when I make a decision, oftentimes nobody agrees with me," McKittrick said.

GREAT FALLS — The great-great grandsons of an Ojibwa American Indian who received a 13-star flag from U.S. soldiers in the early 19th century are arguing over who should assume guardianship of the treasured relic.

The family dispute between brothers Mike and Glen Gopher was heard Monday by District Judge Thomas McKittrick, the Great Falls Tribune reports.

The flag was given to members of the Ojibwa tribe in Minnesota, according to oral tradition passed down through the Gopher family, who are members of the Little Shell Band of the Chippewa tribe.

During the hearing, Mike Gopher said the flag was given to his great-great grandfather as an offering of peace. The Ojibwa were told that they could show the flag at U.S. forts and get guns and ammunition.

The flag was passed down to the Gophers' father, Robert Gopher, who left it to his wife, Dorothy, when he died in 1998.

Ten years later, Dorothy died without a known will. The flag remains in a safe deposit box and the court was asked to decide who should have the keys.

Mike Gopher believes the flag should be in the guardianship of the Little Shell.

"We were entrusted with a very sacred undertaking," Mike Gopher said.

Glen Gopher said the flag should remain under the guardianship of the Gopher family.

"She (Dorothy) left the flag to the family, not to these people," Glen Gopher said in gesturing to a group seated on Mike Gopher's side of the court.

McKittrick said he would reconvene the hearing in about a month and urged the brothers to obtain legal counsel. He also encouraged them to reach an agreement both sides could live with.

"I can tell you that when I make a decision, oftentimes nobody agrees with me," McKittrick said.

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