P.O. Box 202501 • Helena, MT 59620-2501
Putting Montana Students First
As we welcome more Montana Native languages in to our classrooms and homes, it is important to remember the historical origins and lineages of these languages. Many have regional dialects that differ in syntax, grammar and other linguistic means. It is encouraged to reach out to local culture committees for best contextual understandings.
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Paper Application: Please click the link below for the current application. Include all required documents when submitting your application. Licensure specialists cannot evaluate incomplete applications. Applications left incomplete for one year will be purged.
Montana Office of Public Instruction
Attn. Educator Licensure
PO Box 202501
Helena, MT 59620-2501
News Article: Montana Adopts Landmark Language Certification Process
Spring 2022 from Stories for Action: Life in the Land: Blackfeet Nation: Jesse DesRosier; Blackfeet Language
YOUTH VOICE: WATSON || Episode 1 || Before We Could Drink
November 15, 2021: Memorandum of Agreement on Native Languages among the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the U.S. Department of Transportation, White House Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Humanities
2017: Lessons from a Public Investment in Native Language Immersion Classrooms by Mandy Smoker Broaddus
2015: Indian Language and Immersion Program (ILIP): The program is established in 2015 to support efforts of Montana tribes to preserve and perpetuate Indian languages in the form of spoken, written, sung, or signed language and to assist in the preservation and curricular goals of Indian education for all pursuant to Article X, section 1(2), of the Montana constitution and Title 20, chapter 1, part 5. * 2022: Indian Language and Immersion Program Application *
2015: The Cultural Integrity Act: Passed into Montana state law in 2015. This act strengthens the commitment of Montana's goal to preserving American Indian cultural integrity as stated in Article X, Section 1 of the Montana Constitution.
1999: Indian Education for All Act: A bill was passed by the state legislature in 1999 by Representative Carol Juneau, who took the lead in putting the amendment into action as the Indian Education for All Act (IEFA). Juneau authored the bill that made four provisions to clarify the legislative intent behind the amendment:
Since then Indian Education for All has been becoming a reality in public schools throughout Montana.
1995: Class 7: In May of 1995, the Board of Public Education and representatives of all seven reservations testified in support of this Class 7 Certification. The tribes testified that only each tribe has the knowledge and resources to address its own language and cultural situation and that diverse language teaching approaches were desirable. With a unanimous vote the Montana Class 7 American Indian Language and Cultural Specialist Certification passed.
1972: Montana Constitutional Convention: 100 elected delegates from all over Montana came together in Helena to rewrite the state’s constitution. Bozeman Delegate Dorothy Eck, a longtime political activist who later served as a state senator, after hearing convincing testimony from Earl J. Barlow, a member of the Blackfeet Nation and the State Director of Indian Education asked the question, "Is bigotry in the state of Montana a real concern? If it is, then you, the delegates have a golden opportunity to strike a blow for tolerance by incorporating in this constitution, words to that effect." Delegate Eck volunteered to introduce an amendment that would call attention to Montana’s rich and diverse native heritage by making a commitment to promote awareness of this heritage through public education. After a decisive 83-to-1 vote, the convention passed the amendment, which states that “[Montana] recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians” and “is committed in its educational goal to the preservation of their cultural integrity.”
2022: Indian Language and Immersion Program Application
2022: MILP in action!: Ft. Peck Star Quilt Ceremony Ft.Peck Start Quilt Ceremony #2
2021: MILP moves under the Office of Public Instruction:
Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy, a D-Crow Agency, Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, and Rep. David Bedey, R-Hamilton, worked together to craft a plan to restore the funding and move the program under the Office of Public Instruction instead of the state Department of Commerce. The subcommittee's unanimous voice vote restored the full $750,000 in funding and requested the program move under the OPI's budget. Stewart Peregoy, who sits on the budget subcommittee, said there's been a long-term discussion about moving the program to the Office of Public Instruction so it could have a larger impact on the school system. Stewart Peregoy said with fewer people speaking Native languages, it's vital to teach kids. "It's critical to invest in school-age children. ... You're investing in younger families so that there's intergenerational interactions happening," Stewart Peregoy said. Having language programs in schools also allows for bilingual immersion education, Stewart Peregoy said.
2013: Montana Indian Language Preservation (MILP):
Montana Indian Language Preservation program was established in 2013 and maintained in the Department of Commerce. In 2021, MILP was moved under the Office of Public Instruction where we will work with the Tribal Nations and digitize materials for improved access and usage as they see fit. The initial pilot program was created to help preserve Native languages that are traditionally spoken in the state. Each of the eight tribal nations produce preservation products that help memorialize their languages while at the same time help to perpetuate language usage. Each of the tribes has their own schedule and prioritization of goals and activities for the year. The activities include digitizing language products, recordings of stories and book publishing, online classes, development of interactive language dictionaries and other language learning activities and summer language immersion classes among other priorities.
Contact at Montana Historical Society:
Government Records, (406) 444-7427
ACCESS THE TRIBAL PRODUCTS AND INFORMATION AT MT HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Montana Department of Commerce, State Tribal Economic Development Commission, Montana Indian Language Preservation Pilot Program Records, 1975-1976, 1997-2019
At the Office of Public Instruction, we will work with the Tribes and MHS to help digitalize these powerful efforts to make available to the Tribal Nations and state at the Local Education Agency (LEA) and District.
Accessibility to these products will provide direct connections for our children and people to uphold Indigenous languages for current and future generations.
November 2021 (FY 2022):
Indian Language &
Immersion Program Application
Indian Education Home