HELENA – Local organizations are coming together to recognize Native American heritage month in the Capital City with a pop-up museum at Helena College.
The Montana Historical Society, Helena College, Helena Indian Alliance and others worked to create a museum inside the main hall of the Donaldson Campus. The Montana Historical Society provided century-old photographs of Native Americans, and the Office of Public Instruction showcased its ‘”Honor Yourself” photo series featuring young Native Americans in the community. Other artifacts were also on display.
A panel followed Thursday’s reception featuring a discussion about the importance of native languages in the 21st century.
Laura Ferguson, an adjunct Native American Studies professor and Associate Editor at the MHS, moderated the language panel.
“Native language survived 200 years of America trying to stamp them out, and they survived into the 20th century. Not only have they survived, but some of those languages are really starting to take off and flourish again,” Ferguson said.
A perfect example is Leo Bird, a bilingual science teacher at Browning High School who was on Thursday’s panel. Bird literally wrote the book on chemistry and said language is a big part of it.
“Language can develop by taking verb based language and help to broaden out and bring in the scope of math and science. Within the language, they are one thing,” Bird said.
The pop-up museum will be on display between now and Dec. 15.