Native American

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana filed a complaint today with the Montana Human Rights Bureau on behalf of four Native Americans, who say say they were barred entrance to a high school basketball game earlier this year because of their race. 

Gov. Steve Bullock will hold a signing ceremony tomorrow for a bill that will allow Native Americans to wear traditional regalia during public events, including high school graduations.

“This bill means a lot to me. It’s important that our youth are able to display their culture and their identity during monumental events, such as graduation,” says Marci McLean, the director of Western Native Voice, a nonprofit advocacy group.

One of the longest-running high school parades in the United States has been criticized by the ACLU and others for its portrayal of Native Americans.

“This is racism, 21st century racism," says Meg Singer, a Helena resident and member of the Navajo Nation.

She says Helena High School students at the Vigilante Day Parade last Friday dressed in Hollywood-style Native American costumes with short skirts and other scantily-clad clothing.

Colleen O’Brien didn’t know her usual polling place wouldn’t be open for Montana's May 25’s special election to fill Montana’s U.S. House seat until last week.

"It's making it incredibly inconvenient at best, and it is disenfranchising an underserved, underrepresented population at worst," O'Brien says.

Courtesy of Jason Baldes

For the first time in 130 years, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe welcomed a newborn baby buffalo on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

The cute calf with high spiritual importance to the Eastern Shoshone was nearly eradicated by white settlers in the 19th century—so this spring birth marks a new approach and celebration of restorative justice.

The Story Behind Sagebrush, An Icon Of The West

May 1, 2017

Break off a sprig of big sagebrush and inhale its aroma: the fragrance is clean, sharp and as cool as the smell of winter. Call it camphor blended with a touch of Christmas. Crush a few leaves between your fingertips and the scent is suddenly somewhat bitter and more pungent. Let the sprig dry for a few hours and you’ll find that the fragrance gradually loses its bite, softening to crisp evergreen with a hint of juicy berry.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order today directing his Interior secretary to review the designation of dozens of national monuments on federal lands. Trump called the protection efforts "a massive federal land grab" by previous administrations.

MSU:Northern

The ACLU Montana is investigating a human rights complaint at Montana State University-Northern in Havre. The Sweetgrass Society, a Native American student group, says there’s a deeper issue on campus—and it's been going on for months.

Montana's first-ever director of American Indian Health says she thinks state government lacks the commitment for her to do meaningful work, and is resigning.

Mary Lynn Billy-Old Coyote was appointed by Governor Steve Bullock in March of 2016. She submitted her resignation Saturday.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has halted a proposal to transfer the National Bison Range into tribal control.

In an email to the Missoulian, Secretary Zinke says he is committed to not selling or transferring public lands, but hopes the tribes will, "play a pivotal role in our discussions about the best path forward."

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