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June 2017

JUNE 2017

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Humanities Montana
Turns 45


Humanities Montana has been the sponsor of the Montana Center for the Book since 1999. Initial programming included the creation of the Montana Festival of the Book in 2000. The Festival quickly became one of the Northwest’s largest and most popular literary festivals, featuring authors such as Tom McGuane, Richard Ford, Annie Proulx, James Welch, Pam Houston, Sherman Alexie, and many others over its 17 years (and counting).

The Montana Center for the Book also supports other literary festivals across the state, hosts the national youth letter-writing competition Letters About Literature, and the Montana Authors Project interactive literary map, and provides resources for teachers, including literature study guides.

This year the Montana Center for the Book is proud to introduce the MCB Prize, a new website and calendar of events, and an expanded catalog of literary programming.

Montana Conversations and Speakers in the Schools Applications on Hold

Due to heavy demand, Montana Conversations and Speakers in the Schools applications are on hold until October (for programs taking place after November 1, the start of our new fiscal year).

All booked programs will go forward as planned.

Thanks for your commitment to humanities programs in your towns and schools!

Thank You for Your Advocacy—Looking Ahead to 2018

Thanks to the many Montanans who stepped up to advocate for funding the National Endowment for the Humanities and Humanities Montana.

Our 2017 NEH grant shows a modest increase from 2016. However, the president’s 2018 budget calls for elimination of NEH. We will be turning to you for support in the future. In the meantime, let’s relish learning and reflecting under the Big Sky.

Grant Deadlines

Humanities Montana’s next grant application deadline is August 20, 2017 for regular 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. At this time we are focusing on funding projects in rural Montana.

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.

Thanks for a Great Year, Livingston!

Humanities Montana’s board and staff had a delightful meeting in Livingston May 18-20. The board approved five grant proposals for funding, updated our strategic plan, visited with our Hometown Humanities Livingston partners, and contributed $4,055 to the Tribal Partnerships initiative.

A big thanks to Livingston for being a wonderful host for Hometown Humanities—you showed the way for all of us....

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. Our previous hosts have been Miles City, Dillon, Lincoln County, and Havre.

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!

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.

Letters About Literature Winners Announced

The Montana Center for the Book and Humanities Montana announce the state winners of the 2017 Letters About Literature contest. Each year, students across the country write letters to their favorite authors and mail them to the Library of Congress, where national Letters About Literature judges select the letters that move them the most from each state. From this list of incredible pieces, the Montana state-level judges selected winners from each of the three age group divisions. Our state winners are:

Level 1, grades 4-6:

• Jessica Lynn Kelly, Dillon, First Place

• Kendra Lien, Billings, Second Place

• Lily Miller, Missoula, Third Place (tie)

• Johnny Tingey, Belt, Third Place (tie)

Level 2, grades 7-8:

• Alexandra Madsen, Great Falls, First Place

• Jamie Reed, Great Falls, Second Place (tie)

• Harper Gardner, Great Falls, Second Place (tie)

• Helena Brown, Billings, Third Place

Level 3, grades 9-12:

• Danika Firth, Missoula, First Place

• Maggy McGraw, Kalispell, Second Place (tie)

• Ira Williams, Lolo, Second Place (tie)

• Kendall Siebel, Great Falls, Third Place

The judges were impressed and moved by each letter that was sent in and we hope these insightful, talented children will continue to read and write! To read the winning letters, visit the Montana Center for the Book site.

Metis Music and Art Festival June 9-11, Choteau

Enjoy indigenous arts, music, dance and cultural foods during this celebration of the culture of the Métis (people with Native American and European ancestry). Concessions will be available; a raffle, auction, dance, presentations on Metis storytelling and puppetry, and traditional food are part of the gathering.

Humanities Montana awarded an opportunity grant to Michif Heritage Keepers to support this gathering and celebration. Humanities Montana will also support two filmmakers in documenting the tradition, music, stories, and culture shared at this event.

Montana Teachers Compete for Award to Attend Minneapolis Conference

The Western Literature Association and the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies will sponsor two K-12 Teaching Awards that will provide teachers with the opportunity to attend and present at the Western Literature Association Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 25-28, 2017.

The selected teachers will share their instructional plans and teaching approaches at the conference on a K-12 Teaching Panel on Saturday, October 28. The prize will include conference registration, award banquet ticket, and $750 toward conference related costs such as hotel, airfare, and a WLA membership.

Click on this link for more information. Applications are due July 1.

The Humanities Make All the Difference: Dottie Susag

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

Dottie Susag observes, “I often think about what we don’t know and how the impact of that ignorance might contribute to our actions toward others.... I wonder, if the experiences in our public schools have such power, what happens to children or teens, American Indian children in particular, who don’t hear the stories of their own people in their classrooms? And if they do, what happens when their teachers, and the literature they might read, regard those stories as inferior, or of no use, representing wrong values of property and government, and representing inadequate means for survival? How do they establish positive identities for themselves when voices within their culture are ignored, twisted, and suppressed, and when voices outside their culture decide who these young people are and who they should become? By contrast, what might they learn to value, what might they learn to reject, and what might they learn about survival when they hear and read about the suffering, loss, and endurance of their own people?”

You can read Dottie’s full reflection here.

Grants Awarded:
May 2017

The Southsiders: A History of Billings’ Southside, Western Heritage Center, Billings, $500. An exhibit of a unique aspect of Billings—the Southside with its diverse ethnic neighborhoods and neighbors, south of the downtown railroad tracks.

Abridging Rights of "The Other," Missoula League of Women Voters, Missoula, $1,000. A tour of Fort Missoula’s WWII internment camp, three film screenings, and presentations from four guest speakers on the human cost to “the other” of xenophobia, property confiscation, and the loss of freedom and family as the price of security.

Crow Summer Institute, The Language Conservancy, Bloomington, Indiana, $5,100. Funding for the 2017 Crow Summer Institute, the premier Crow language teachers’ training program in the United States.

Children’s Festival of the Book 2017, Bozeman Public Library Foundation, $4,000. The 10th annual festival at the Bozeman Public Library will feature award-winning children’s author illustrators Grace Lin and Jarrett Krosoczka, Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4.

Montana Playwrights Conference, Montana Playwrights Network, Helena, $2,600. The first Montana Playwrights Conference will offer workshops and activities aimed at playwrights, storytellers, literary/reading/writing teachers and business professionals, November 2-3.

I Am Interchange, Interchange Symposium, Bozeman, $3,000. Funds to support the creation of podcasts and social media promotion of the popular Bozeman current events discussions.

The Madison Valley History Museum Project, Phase II, Madison Valley History Association, Ennis, $2,500. Support to continue cataloging and indexing the several thousand artifacts and documents held by the Madison Valley History Association.

Michif Festival Videography, The Gay Dad Project, Missoula, $1,000. Documentation of the Michif Festival in Choteau, Montana, June 9-11, including interviews with elders.

Thanks to Our Generous Supporters — May 2017


Joan Bird
Caroline Bitz*
Rita Collins*
Scott Crichton*
Devin Egan
Joe Fitzgerald
Deborah Garland*
Jeffrey and Yvonne** Gritzner
Lorents Grosfield*
Marie Habener
Kevin Hood, in honor of Professor Charles Hood**
Chris Hopkins*
Susan and Dave* Irion
Linda Karell**
Bridget Kevane
Taylor Pape
Aaron Pruitt*
Loren Randall
Penny Redli*
Laura Mitchell Ross*
Mandy Smoker Broaddus*
Tom Stockburger
Dorothea Susag
Stephen Sylvester**
Nicholas Vrooman


Carbon County Arts Guild
Carter County Museum
Heritage Museum
Montana Shares
Northern Rockies Heritage Center
Range Riders Museum

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