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May 2017

MAY 2017

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Humanities Montana
Turns 45

Bozeman Humanities Celebration, May 16, 4-6 pm, Bozeman Public Library.

Join Humanities Montana’s board and staff and our many wonderful partners for a Bozeman Humanities Celebration Tuesday, May 16 from 4:00-6:00 pm in the Community Room at the Bozeman Public Library.

We’ll recognize outstanding organizations and humanists, launch the Bozeman Humanities Network (a consortium of humanities organizations in the Bozeman area), and lead a conversation about hopes and dreams for the humanities in the Gallatin Valley. All that, plus live classical music and special treats. See you in Bozeman on May 16!

This is the first of five celebrations of our 45th birthday around the state in 2017.

Bozeman Public Library

Our Current State

Meet our newest discussion leader, Blackfeet language instructor and linguistics scholar Robert Hall.

Robert Patrick Hall, Maato'ommstatto'osi (First-Winters-Sun) in Blackfeet, is a storyteller. He tells old stories that have been passed down generation to generation by the Piikunnii people, also known as The Blackfeet. Through these stories, he gives audiences a taste of how Piikunnii lives once were, how their spirituality and empathy were important, and the joys of humor. He tells the stories in English and Blackfeet, so that the stories can be heard as they were originally spoken before they are understood in English. He teaches about Blackfeet people while making the audience feel respected and comfortable for being a human being on this land. It is paramount that people leave feeling good because that is why we tell stories: to make one another important.

Check the Montana Conversations page for information about how to book this program and over 100 others!

Robert Patrick Hall

Let Congress Know How Much the Humanities Mean

The humanities change lives by bringing Montanans together to learn and reflect on our past, present, and future. Each year Humanities Montana provides up to 180 Montana Conversations programs all over the state and especially in rural communities; 80 Speakers in the Schools programs to inspire students with history, literature, philosophy, and more; $150,000 in grants so Montanans can design their own exciting programs; and community conversations on current issues so citizens can thoughtfully consider alternative points of view and ways to move forward together.

These incredible opportunities depend on federal funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities. Please click this link to take direct action to let Montana’s Congressional delegation know how much the humanities mean to Montana! Thank you.

Grant Deadlines

Humanities Montana’s next grant application deadline is August 20, 2017 for regular & 3-year sustaining grants (over $1,000) as well as film & digital media grants.

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.

Humanities Montana’s Board Meets in Livingston May 18-20

To celebrate a great Hometown Humanities year, Humanities Montana’s board and staff will meet in Livingston May 18-20.

In celebration of Elk River Book’s sixth anniversary, we will begin the gathering with a free poetry reading featuring Dave Thomas and Our Current State presenter Saif Alsaegh at Elk River Books on May 18 at 7 pm.

We will hold a board meeting at the Shane Lalani Center from 8:30-4:30 on May 19 and 8:30-noon on May 20. We hope to see you in Livingston.

Contribute to Tribal Partnerships and Montana Center for the Book Prizes

Humanities Montana announces two new giving opportunities that will make a difference for Montana: Tribal Partnerships and the Montana Center for the Book Prizes. Go here to donate.

You will be joining a community of humanities supporters. Read our Annual Report here, which thanks our many donors and shows how we put your gifts to good use.

Tribal Partnerships emerges from our commitment to partnering with Tribal Nations in innovative ways. We’ll provide direct funding for projects identified by tribes as significant. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $5,000 each year to underwrite this initiative.

The Montana Center for the Book Prize will recognize and encourage innovative literary programming throughout Montana, especially in rural communities. You can read more about the prize and how to nominate your organization below. Once again, our goal is to raise a minimum of $5,000 each year.

Thank you in advance for supporting emerging humanities opportunities throughout Montana!

Montana Center for the Book Accepting Applications for Book Prizes

The first annual Montana Center for the Book Prize nominations are now open. The Montana Center for the Book Prize is a new award that recognizes and supports programs that celebrate literature and give people increased access to books and writers.

The MCB Prize includes a $1,000 cash award presented to each of up to five organizations that offer creative and wide-reaching literary programming. MCB Prize recipients will be featured on the Montana Center for the Book web page and all recipient organization events will be shared on the MCB calendar of events. In awarding the MCB Prize, the Montana Center for the Book will prioritize geographic diversity with a special emphasis on organizations that reach rural populations.

Any person or organization can nominate a program for the prize and organizations can self-nominate. Nominations will be accepted until July 15th.

Humanities Montana has been the sponsor of the Montana Center for the Book since 1999 and has supported book festivals, the national youth letter-writing competition Letters About Literature, and the Montana Authors Project interactive literary map, in addition to providing resources for teachers, including literature study guides.

Bring Hometown Humanities to Your Community! Applications Now Being Accepted

Hometown Humanities is a program of Humanities Montana that brings a year’s worth of free humanities programming and support for humanities projects to one Montana town. Over the past year, we brought 32 programs and supported four projects in Livingston, including a presentation-discussion series on women in Montana history, school speakers on the practice of Islam, community conversations on the Livingston economy, a high school literary mapping project and author reading, and two community reading, lecture, and workshop series.

Do you want your town to be the next Hometown site? Tell us why through our online application. Any town with a population under 20,000 is eligible. We look forward to discovering our next Hometown!

Visit our Hometown Humanities page for more information and a calendar of events and contact Sarah with questions or requests.

In Memoriam: William “Gatz” Hjortsberg

Livingston writer William Hjortsberg died April 22nd. Gatz was the author of numerous novels and screenplays as well as the biography of Richard Brautigan, Jubilee Hitchhiker. His well-received novels include Falling Angel (the basis for the movie “Angel Heart” starring Robert DeNiro and Mickey Rourke) and Nevermore.

Gatz was a great friend to both the Montana Book Festival and the High Plains Book Festival, he wore a hat better than anyone else in the world, and he will be remembered by many in Montana and beyond for his great storytelling, both on the pages of his books and sitting beside you in a bar.

Share Reflections on The Last Best Place

We received many moving and amusing comments on The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology in response to an article highlighting the book in our April newsletter. Maggie Davis, who served on the Montana Committee for the Humanities board, captures the spirit and content of these replies:

This tome of a book happened on my "watch" with MCH, aka Humanities Montana. I remember its enthusiastic launch at the State Capitol where I then lived. William Kittredge and Annick Smith and colleagues delivered an unequaled survey of Montana writings. I wonder how Volume II might go. Plenty of good stuff; but what of the tweets, videos, songs, and their ever-changing platforms for dissemination? Even in the 1980s we were pondering analog electronic systems' obsolescence (8-track tapes, etc). The Last Best Place deserves a continuum of readers. How about a commemorative, 30-year anniversary support rack to prop the dang thing up?

You can join the conversation about this book during book festivals in Billings and Missoula this fall.

The Humanities Make All the Difference: Karen Stevenson

This year’s Governor’s Humanities Awards recipients shared inspiring messages on how the humanities changed their lives.

Karen Stevenson reflects, “The humanities have connected me to people I ordinarily would not have met, to ideas I had not entertained, and to stories of a time, a place, a culture and a history I may not have otherwise known. The humanities are not just an organization but, ultimately, a way of being, with eyes, ears and mind as wide open as an eastern Montana landscape, allowing oneself to be surprised, delighted, curious, puzzled, and ultimately always in search of understanding. The humanities have helped me make sense of our place in the world.”

You can read Karen’s full meditation here.

Grants Awarded:
April 2017

PCFA Annual Artists Lecture Series, The Park County Friends of the Arts, Livingston, $1,000. Four local artists will discuss what it is about Livingston and Park County that draws them, keeps them, and inspires them in a lecture series called “Why Here?”

Reflections of the Revolution: The October Revolution and Global Order, 1917-2017, University of Montana, Missoula, $1,000. A conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1918 October Revolution in Russia.

Nez Perce Living Culture Scholars, Ravalli County Museum, Hamilton, $1,000. Tribal elders from the Nez Perce Lapwai Reservation will travel to the Ravalli County Museum to share the history and living culture of the Nez Perce people in a two-day celebration at the opening of the Nez Perce Travelling Exhibit, May 19-20.

Thanks to Our Generous Supporters — April 2017


Dave Caserio
Devin Egan
Marie Habener
Shahid Haque-Hausrath
Lynn Hinch
Judy and Donald Mathre
Caroline Patterson
Tobin* and Cheryl Miller Shearer
Mandy Smoker Broaddus*
Dorothea Susag


Billings Cultural Partners
Missoula Public Library
Mondak Heritage Center Riverbend Publishing

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