The State-Tribal Relations Committee travels to Fort Belknap and Great Falls May 8-10 to meet with tribal leaders, learn about how horse work helps prevent youth suicide, and visit nursing apprenticeship and language preservation programs. The committee will also consider several potential legislative proposals.
As the Legislature's liaison with tribes, the STRC meets with the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council at 9 a.m. on May 8 in the council's chambers at Fort Belknap Agency. The STRC meets with the Little Shell Tribal Council at 2 p.m. on May 9 at the Little Shell Cultural Center in Great Falls.
On May 9, development of committee legislation will kick into high gear, starting with a review of options to provide state funding to help English learners improve their reading and writing skills. These are students who have another language of impact spoken at home. Nearly 70 percent of Montana’s roughly 3,000 English learners are American Indian.
The STRC will also review several proposals related to missing persons that the Department of Justice championed at the committee’s March meeting. These include:
Several questions related to criminal jurisdiction arose during the committee’s study of missing persons, human trafficking, drug abuse, and violence against women in Indian Country. Maylinn Smith, co-director of the UM Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic, will provide an educational overview on May 9. The STRC invited state, tribal, and federal representatives to offer their perspectives as well.
On May 10, the committee will continue its discussion of reentry resources for American Indian offenders on state parole and probation. Ideas selected for further study include developing an American Indian reentry program, greater use of peer support specialists, and increased cultural programming.
Senate members of the STRC are Jen Gross (D-Billings), Steve Hinebauch (R-Wibaux), Jason Small (R-Busby), and Frank Smith (D-Poplar). House members of the STRC are Alan Doane (Vice Chair, R-Bloomfield), James O'Hara (R-Fort Benton), Rae Peppers (D-Lame Deer), and Sharon Stewart-Peregoy (Chair, D-Crow Agency).
For more information, visit the committee’s website or contact Hope Stockwell, committee staff.
Committee Website: www.leg.mt.gov/tribal
Committee Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-444-9280