Montana Money To Create Tribal Histories
Havre Daily News
By Ellen Thompson – email@example.com
Montana's seven tribal colleges will have $2.5 million among them over two years to compile tribal histories for educators and purchase equipment for their campuses.
At Stone Child College on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, organizers say the project will allow them to compile family and local histories that have never been collected before.
The money was included in the governor's budget and is meant to help provide Montana educators with materials on the state's tribes so they can comply with the Indian Education for All Act. The law requires schools teach about the history and culture of Montana's tribes.
"They mandated schools teach Indian education, but they couldn't find materials or sources," Stone Child College president Melody Henry said. "This is a way to provide that, so we can teach the history of the Chippewa Cree throughout the state of Montana."
The project began in July, and Henry said organizers have only met a few times. They are considering making a book accompanied by a compact disc of images. In addition, Henry would like to have participants create a Web page with links to different information on Chippewa Cree history and culture, like local beadwork or family histories.
Stone Child College humanities instructor Matt Herman is organizing the project locally. He said he wants it to be a people's history, where individuals contribute their own histories."We're hoping it can be like that," Herman said. "Anyone and everyone, especially families, can contribute their own family histories."
Dean of Academics at Stone Child College, Nate St. Pierre, said he thinks the project will provide a source for local researchers."It's going to be an opportunity both for people to share their stories, but also for people to learn those - Indian and non-Indian alike."
St. Pierre said he could see the project generating spin-off projects, such as families using the project to construct genealogies, or researchers focusing more on a particular aspect of local Chippewa Cree culture.
According to the governor's budget, half the funds given to each college can be spent on equipment that can be used for other purposes as well. The other half will go toward supporting the tribal history project directly.
"From what I understand, the governor wanted to make sure the tribal colleges receive equipment for writing their histories to be used by the K-12 community and also to have equipment to fill any needs they might have on their campuses," said Ellen Swaney, director of American Indian Minority Achievement in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.
Participants will meet Thursday in Missoula to share project ideas. Henry said she looks forward to hearing what ideas other participants have.
In mid-October, Stone Child College will hold a two-day seminar for any community members interested in contributing to the project. Participants will learn methods of collecting historical records and data.
People who are interested in participating can contact Matt Herman at Stone Child College at 395-4313.
Everall Fox (White Clay)
Director of Indian Education
Montana Office of Public Instruction
PO Box 202501 Helena, MT. 59601
(406) 444-3013- office
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