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January 2017

JAN 2017

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Humanities Montana
Turns 45 in 2017

To celebrate, we’ll feature "memory bits" in each of this year’s newsletters.

In 1995 Governor Marc Racicot presented the first Governor’s Humanities Awards to Ivan Doig, the Montana Association of Churches, and William Sullivan. Montana’s governor and Humanities Montana have recognized distinguished Montanans every two years since. Honorees have contributed as teachers, presenters, scholars, supporters, creators, and more.

Donor Spotlight

Thanks so much to David Orser and Ossie Abrams for making a gift to support travel for Billings West High School students to attend a special exhibit at the Museum of the Rockies focused on "The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii." Ossie and David are generous supporters of cultural opportunities throughout Montana—we’re grateful Billings West students have benefited from their vision and philanthropy.

Grant Deadlines

Humanities Montana’s next grant application deadline is April 20, 2017 for regular grants (over $1,000). Grant decisions will be made by June 26.

Opportunity Grant applications are accepted at any time but should be submitted at least four weeks before the project begins.

Event Calendar

Visit our online calendar to find out about upcoming Humanities Montana-sponsored events.


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Humanities Montana strives to enrich the lives of all Montanans by fostering inquiry and stimulating civil and informed conversations about the human experience.

Much more information on Humanities Montana and its many programs and services is available on our website.

Write us at:

Humanities Montana
311 Brantly
Missoula, MT, 59812-7848

or contact us via email, or call us at 406-243-6022.

Thank You for Supporting Humanities for All Montanans!

Montanans are so generous. You step up to provide humanities opportunities for citizens of all ages throughout the state. Please know we appreciate each and every gift. Your kindness makes such a difference!

Celebrate Excellence in the Humanities January 26 in Helena

Join Governor Steve Bullock and Humanities Montana’s board and staff in honoring this year’s recipients of the Governor’s Humanities Awards by attending a 3 pm ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda and a 7 pm banquet at the Radisson Colonial Hotel. Michael Punke, author of The Revenant, will be the keynote speaker at the banquet. You can purchase banquet tickets here.

This month we feature awardees Chere Jiusto and Karen Aspevig Stevenson. For decades Chere has worked throughout Montana tirelessly researching and advocating for our cultural treasures. From the Sweetgrass Hills to the Tongue River Valley, she has documented, celebrated, and preserved the history of Montana. Chere’s passion for historical places serves to inspire people across the state to embrace their shared heritage. She is a talented historian, gifted, artist, and graceful writer. As director of the Montana Preservation Alliance, she is an inspirational speaker and a mentor. Most of all she is a nurturer—of places and people.

A nominating letter described Chere perfectly: "Chere exemplifies the soul of education, outreach, and the storytelling magic of writing about history and places...for 30 tireless years, Chere has studied, preserved, and celebrated the forgotten treasures and architectural secrets of our Montana history."

Karen has spent most of her life in eastern Montana and has worked to connect its people to their landscape through stories. She brought local history alive by developing a living history presentation on Evelyn Cameron that was popular across the state. Karen has also gathered stories of eastern Montana and encouraged others to do the same. When she taught in one-room schools in Birney and Morin, she asked students to write their families’ stories as many were from homesteading backgrounds. She also wrote a biography of an amazing pioneer from Miles City, Elsie Fox. Karen joined the board of Humanities Montana and served on the Advisory Board for Women’s History Matters. Her work and influence have brought history and the humanities to life in very real ways across Montana, but especially in eastern Montana.

One nominator wrote that he "admires the work that Karen has done to make her community and region more humane, more tolerant, more inclusive, and more aware of a larger scope of life and experience. She exudes love for the land matched by love for learning."

Please join us in celebrating these two humanities leaders, as well as John Murray, Hal and Shiela Stearns, and Dorothea Susag on January 26.

In Memoriam:
George M. Dennison

We were so sad to learn that University of Montana's President Emeritus George M. Dennison passed away January 3, surrounded by family and loved ones after a courageous battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 81. A great supporter of the humanities, Dr. Dennison received the Governor's Humanities Award in 2009. Our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Last Call: Letters About Literature Deadline January 9

The deadline for fourth through eighth-graders to submit their entries for Letters About Literature is January 9. The Library of Congress provides schools with a teaching guide to help get kids writing (and a rubric that shows how LAL supports common core standards). Students can enter themselves or teachers can send in their submissions using these guidelines. We can’t wait to see the finalists' letters!

Consider Applying for "Creating Humanities Communities" Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced a special grant opportunity, "Creating Humanities Communities," focused on states that have been underserved by NEH’s grants and programs. Montana is one of those states. Please visit the website announcing the grant line, review the requirements, and contact Ken Egan to gain more insight into this opportunity.

If you would like NEH staff to review a draft of your proposal, the deadline is Monday, January 16.

Hometown Humanities Livingston Focuses on Youth & Community

Livingston Park High School students are continuing to work on two short films addressing "Unemployment" and "How Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Affect Mental Health." The project will culminate in a school-wide and a public community screening of the student films.

Tim King has planned three series for the Livingston-Park County Library. The first, called "Many Cultures," will bring together the Livingston community to think about the diverse voices that make up Montana. Each will take place at the library at 6 pm.

JAN 12

Islam: A Search for Peace, Place, and Prosperity with Barry Ferst

JAN 19

Montana Indians Today with Ruthanne Knudson

JAN 26

Chinese in Montana with Ellen Baumler


Latino America, Latino Montana with Bridget Kevane


Profiles of African American Montanans with Ellen Baumler

The second Livingston-Park County Library series will focus on women in Montana, from the Victorian era to today. More information to follow on the upcoming series.

An English class at Park High will be adding to our Montana Authors Project map as they read Shann Ray’s American Copper. Ray will visit their classroom to talk about his book in March.

A community conversation series about the economy will be held at Katabatic Brewing. The first conversation will take place on February 9 and will focus on the economy and housing. The panel will include Sara Savage from HRDC. The second conversation will take place on February 23 and will focus on food resources. The panel will feature Michael McCormick of the Livingston Food Resource Center. Each conversation will begin with some insight from the panel, followed by an open conversation with the audience. Join the conversation!

Dr. Ambrin Masood will visit Sleeping Giant Middle School and Park High to help students learn about the many facets of Islam. She will also offer a public presentation and lead an open, dynamic, and inclusive discussion on Islam and Pakistan at Elk River Books on March 9.

The Elk River Lecture Series will bring authors to Livingston to give public readings and visit with students at Livingston schools. Public readings will take place at Elk River Books at 7 p.m. on the following dates:


Dr. J.D. Lanham

APR 20

Greg Klyma


Megan and Deirdre McNamer

Grant Awarded:
December 2016

Spring 2017 Lecture Series, Elk River Arts & Lectures, Livingston, $1,000.00. Support for four presenters (biologist and author Dr. Joseph Drew Lanham, troubadour Greg Klyma, and novelists Megan and Deirdre McNamer) who will each spend time working with Park High School students and give free public lectures in Livingston.

Thanks to Our Generous Supporters — December 2016


Bonnie Bowler**
Mary Jane Bradbury
Lynn and Scott Cain
Eileen Carney
Vickie Christie and John Battaglia
Rita Collins*
Nancy Cook and Tom Berninghausen
Jean Lemire Dahlman**
Margaret S. Davis** and Bruce L. Ennis
Jo Ann Eder
Devin Egan
Ken* and Terry Egan
Ray Ekness
Paul Filicetti**
Louise Ogemahgeshig Fischer
Marie Habener
Joan Hoff**
Molly Holz
Joan Hood
Raela Hulett
David Irion*
Jennifer Jeffries Thompson**
Mark Johnson**
Cindy and Jim Kittredge
David Koeberlein
Bonnie Lambert
Lisa Larsen & WESTECH
Lyndel Meikle**
L.M. Minich & Denise C. King
Albert and Virginia Niccolucci
Claire Oakley and Bruce Wendt
David Orser and Ossie Abrams
Paula Petrik
Lawrence K. Pettit**
Aaron Pruitt*
Debby Randall*
Wilbur Rehmann
Arlyne Reichert
Stephen Schombel
Brian Shovers and Jo Lace
Nancy and Eugene Lee Silliman
Corby Skinner**
Darlene L. Strobel
David E. Thomas
Ruth Towe**
Christopher Weiss-Lehman
Lois M. Welch
O. Alan Weltzien**
Bruce Whittenberg**
Nancy Widdicombe**
Janelle Zauha


Blaine County Library
Fallon Homemakers
Friends of the Roundup Library
Judith Gap High School
North Lake County Public Library
Northwest Montana Posse of Westerners

*Current Board and Staff Members
**Former Board and Staff Members