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Law & History

Law & History

In 1972, Montana rewrote the State Constitution. Within Article X, Section 1, Subsection 2, it is written…

     “The state recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indians and is committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural integrity.”

Out of 100 delegates, there were no American Indians representatives among them. Yet the 1972 delegates recognized the importance of ALL Montanans learning about the culture and history of our state’s first peoples. 

In 1999, Montana State Law MCA 20-1-501, formally known as Indian Education for All was passed. This law highlights three important elements:

     1. Every Montanan, whether Indian or non-Indian, learn about American Indian peoples in a culturally     
       responsive manner.

     2. Educational Agencies work in partnership with Montana tribes to implement Indian Education for All.

     3. All school personnel should have an understanding of Indian tribes so that they may relate more effectively 
       with Indian students and parents.

In 2005, the Montana Legislature approved Senate Bill 152, setting forth a definition of a quality education for Montana students. Montana State Law MCA 20-9-309, section 2, outlines 8 components that define a quality education. Indian Education for All is one of the 8 components. 

In 2006, Great Falls Public Schools began implementing Indian Education for All across the district with the assistance of two instructional coaches.  Since that time, much as been done to incorporate Indian Education for All across the district: profession development, lesson writing, resource buying, curriculum aligning, KUD writing just to name a few.

Montana, forty-first state in the union, is filled with beauty of all kinds including the diversity and collective history of its people. The 1972 delegates were visionary in their language and progressive in incorporating Indian Education in our state constitution. Montana citizens live, work and play together, it is logical that we learn about one another.