HELENA – The ACLU released a statement on Thursday regarding the controversial Vigilante Parade float.

The organization that works to combat racial discrimination in Montana said, “The racially inflammatory costumes and behavior,” perpetuating, the Native American stereotypes, from the float are unacceptable.

The buffalo jump float controversy started after a Helena resident, who is also a member of the Navajo Nation posted on Facebook her concerns that the float was insensitive to Native Americans.

“I saw non-native students dressed up as Native Americans and my first thought was ‘well that’s clearly the definition of redface,’” Meg Singer said.

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The ACLU called on the Helena Public Schools administration, in their statement, to review their approval policy for floats for the vetting process. “While student participation in a tradition that is meant to honor Montana’s history is laudable, it is the responsibility of the school district to ensure that the parade does not marginalize or misrepresent Native communities, heritage, or contributions to this state.”

The organization said the controversy is a great example of the need to have a community conversation about race, discrimination and, “What honoring the history of our Indigenous friends and neighbors actually means,” adding that the Helena Public Schools can facilitate the conversation.

The statement was not only supported by the ACLU but several other groups signed it. The complete list below:

Montana Human Rights Network

ACLU of Montana

Extreme History Project

Sweetgrass Society

Montana Women Vote

Montana Racial Equity Project

Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance

For more information and to read the complete statement click here.


  1. Wow all this because Meg whined on FB an open social media outlet and she got back lashed and she didn’t like it. First off if you want to quite her she called the kids on the float racist and stereotypical amongst other things. This parade has been around since 1924 and most likely has never portrayed the natives to the exact science of their original traditions that’s not what the parade is about and if she (she is from Utah btw) is allowed this focus on her then it opens the floor up for other side’s the parade isn’t made of one race or one color everyone is involved and if you’re going to air a story at least open it up to all opinions not just her story and you will see so many people think she is wrong in her persuit on this. It started because she blanetly called the kids on the float. Sorry this hit home for me and the parade needs to be defended in a positive light so the tradition can carry on. These floats are monitored and approved and one of the gals that does this is also native and she didn’t find it offensive or she wouldn’t have approved the float to begin with. Please look into both sides of this.

  2. The majority of the Helena community stands behind the Vigilante Parade and the kids who work so hard on it. In Hollywood, we see non-natives portraying native Americans every day without backlash, and I doubt the actors have to research, write, and submit reports and then actually build their own sets. These kids should be commended and this reaction to a float recreating the buffalo jump is unfounded and, to be honest, irrational. Kids, I hope you continue to participate in community and school events! Don’t let the overzealous rants of a nation-gone-crazy keep you from getting involved.