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CONTACT US:    406.243.6022    •    •    MORE >


November 2018


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Featured Event

Megaphone, Microphone, or Transformation:
The Power of the Press in the Age of Fake News and White Nationalism

When charges of fake news and alternative facts become part of the public narrative, determining credible media sources can be challenging. Coverage of white nationalism and white supremacy presents another set of challenges for the media. Join Informed Citizen panelists and Montana Human Rights Network Research Director Travis McAdam for a discussion and Q&A.

Panelists for the event are:

Kathy Best, Editor at the Missoulian

Shanti Johnson, project coordinator at the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Center in Missoula

David McCumber, Editor at the Montana Standard

Dennis Swibold, professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism

This program is part of the Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative that seeks to deepen the public's knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. If you would like to host an Informed Citizen event in your community, contact Sam Dwyer.

In Memoriam
Arch Ellwein

"The Sunrise City became a little less bright this week. Arch Ellwein, the voice of the Sidney Eagles and District 2-C sports, passed away.... He was 62 years old."

Arch was a force of nature, a dynamo of culture and community service. He served on Humanities Montana's Speakers Bureau/Montana Conversations roster for many years, delivering high-energy, engaging, historically accurate portrayals of Theodore Roosevelt, Vic Smith, and many others all over the state and region. He loved his hometown of Sidney and the surrounding communities. He believed in the power of history, stories, theater, and the arts to make us better human beings. You can read a fuller account of his life here. Our condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Arch. How he will be missed.

Humanities Montana Suspends Regular, Film and Digital Grants for 2019

Humanities Montana has entered a year focused on expanding development capacity and planning for a relaunch of our grants and programs during 2020. We will therefore suspend our regular, film and digital, three-year sustaining, and fellowship grants for fiscal year 2019 (November 1, 2018-October 31, 2019).

We will continue to offer Opportunity Grants (quick-action grants up to $1,000) and will honor our already-approved three-year sustaining grants.

We recognize this suspension may cause inconvenience for our many partners and humanists around the state. Please call Humanities Montana’s staff at 243-6022 to discuss this temporary change and other possible funders for your work.

Event Calendar

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


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For more information...

Humanities Montana strengthens communities through stories, conversation, and reflection.

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.

Free Programs for Montana Teachers

A good teacher is a determined person.

– Gilbert Highet

Humanities Montana proudly supports Montana’s teachers by providing free school programs that inspire student engagement, expression and participation. Teachers can book programs on topics like journalism, literature, world cultures and more at no cost using our easy online application.

Our Speakers in the Schools catalog offers over 100 programs that will encourage students to engage with your humanities curriculum in a whole new way. Combine history and theater by booking a living history presenter, incite creative expression with a spoken-word poetry class, or introduce Montana Native American literature to your young readers—all funded by Humanities Montana.

Letters About Literature Submissions Open

Reading is more than a passive way to receive knowledge or entertainment—the best writing sets off a chain reaction of ideas, feelings and connections. It lasts centuries and readers can be part of an ongoing exchange of ideas.

To help young people realize this power of literature, the Library of Congress and the Montana Center for the Book work together to offer Letters About Literature. Students select a book, poem, or speech they have read and write a personal letter to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them.

Online submissions will be accepted November 1, 2018 until January 11, 2019 here. Watch the Letters About Literature YouTube video to learn more.

Give the Gift of Reflection this Holiday Season

Montana needs beacons, bright ones that gleam with inspiration and consideration and thoughtfulness.

Humanities Montana offers that illumination every day.

Our Tribal Partnerships Initiative has transformed the conventional grant-driven process by fostering authentic, mutual relationships. A series of $5,000 grants has funded language revitalization of the Piikani language, history reclamation events at the Fort Belknap Mid-Winter Fair, and Nakoda language instruction on the Fort Peck Reservation.

Our Informed Citizen program brings speakers into schools and rural communities to discuss freedom of speech, digital literacy, civic engagement, and the 24-hour media cycle. Along with 67 other offerings through our Speakers in the Schools program, we have visited 425 classrooms, reaching more than 8,000 Montana students with high-quality humanities presentations.

Montana shines brighter due to these efforts.

Please help us meet our goal of raising $50,000 for the holiday season. Make a donation today via our secure website.

With your help we will be a beacon of hope and civility throughout our great state. We will continue to pursue our mission of strengthening communities through stories, conversation, and reflection.

We will be that bright—help us shine.

  • $50 provides an additional Speakers in the Schools classroom presentation
  • $100 supports our children’s writing and reading promotion program, Letters About Literature
  • $150 pays for a community discussion leader honoraria
  • $250 underwrites a humanities presentation at your library or history museum
  • $500 funds a community conversation on a current issue or event

Books for Heart Butte Kids Honored

Humanities Montana awarded the Montana Center for the Book Prize to Books for Heart Butte Kids in recognition of their efforts to promote literacy and literature in their community. This award-winning program received $1,000 to continue and expand their book collection for local kids.

The MCB prize recognizes creative and wide-reaching programming. From a large volume of impressive nominations, the Center for the Book Advisory Committee selected Heart Butte School District’s Books for Heart Butte Kids, which serves children on the Blackfeet Reservation. Program founder and local speech therapist Michele Herrington started collecting new and gently used book donations to provide books that students can call their own outside of the school library.

According to the nomination, Herrington realized the best way to instill an appreciation for books in her small reservation community was to give each child a personal copy of an age-appropriate book they can read together with a teacher’s guidance. As they become familiar with the book in the classroom, they can then read it on their own. Many students in Heart Butte don’t have easy access to books at home. Books for Heart Butte Kids has provided hundreds of books over the last six years and continues to develop book ownership as children get older.

Other prize winners this year are Aerie Big Sky and Aerie International, Missoula; Arts Without Boundaries, Billings; Captain Hooked on Books at the North Valley Public Library, Stevensville; and Missoula Writing Collaborative, Missoula.

The Montana Center for the Book is a program of Humanities Montana and the state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Its mission is to promote awareness of books, writing, reading, the book arts, publishing and literacy in Montana.

Big Sky Reads is Your Connection to Montana’s Book Clubs

Big Sky Reads is a casual Facebook group for book club members, people who like the idea of book clubs but don't want to actually go anywhere, and the book-club curious. We share info on meet ups around the state and generally talk about books. Anyone can request to join to see what’s happening in their neck of the woods (or share their own book club stats). Public book clubs can also apply for $500 stipends to support their literary endeavors. We currently support the following clubs:

Wedsworth Memorial Library Book Club

They meet November 5, 2018 and February 11, March 11, April 8, and May 13, 2019 at the Wedsworth Memorial Library at 5 p.m. The theme this cycle is “strong women” with discussion led by Dr. Penny Hughes-Briant.

The Sorry I’m Late Book Club

They meet at The Preston Hot Springs Town/County Library Thursdays at 2 p.m. This is a new book club and welcomes new participants. Contact the library for details on book selections.

Free People Reading Freely

They meet the third Monday of each month in the Blaine County Library's public meeting room. This book club reads the top ten most challenging books in 2017. Discussion is moderated by Dr. Donna Miller.

I'll Read Anything!

They meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at various locations in Dillon. Contact the Dillon Public Library for location details.

Liberty County Library Book Club

Their next meeting is November 26. They’ll be discussing When We Were Young by Lisa Wingate.

Grants Awarded:
October 2018

Perma Red Television Series, Perma Red LLC, Missoula, $8,000. Support for pre-production work including interviews, archival research, photograph interpretation, costume design research, language coaching as well as a retreat structured to orient production team and crew to the Salish and Pend d’Orielle cultures and protocols.

Unladylike Video Series, The Futuro Media Group, New York City, $7,940. Funding for research, script writing, and interviews on the life and times of pioneering Montana native Jeannette Pickering Rankin, in order to create one of a series of 31 animated documentary shorts for the 31 days of Women’s History Month.

Daughter of a Lost Bird, Big Sky Film Institute, Missoula, $8,000. Continuing support for an hour-long documentary exploring the ethics surrounding transracial adoption.

When They Were Here, Ivan and Ivy MacDonald, Missoula, $8,000. Funding for a documentary focusing on the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis.

Strengthening the Ties that Bind: Public History/Public Engagement/Public Humanities in Montana, MSU Center for Western Lands and People, Bozeman, $5,000. A March 2019 conference bringing together public history/humanities practitioners with faculty, staff, and students in order to explore the possibilities and requirements for strengthening the training and practice of public history and public humanities in Montana.

2018 High Plains BookFest, Billings Cultural Partners, Billings, $2,500. Mid-October three-day festival celebrating the literature and writers of seven western states and three Canadian provinces.

Racebending: Adventures in a Bi-cultural World—A Lecture by Novelist Jamie Ford, Lewis and Clark Library Foundation, Helena, $3,000. Support for the 2018 Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture which will highlight the challenges and comforts of growing up bi-racial and writing multi-cultural fiction as part of the Speaking Volumes Transforming Hate programming co-sponsored by the Holter Museum and the Montana Human Rights Network.

Documenting and Sharing Montana’s Statewide African American Heritage, Montana Historical Society, Helena, $6,000. Continued documentation, oral history, and video including interviews with scholars and members of the state’s African American community; development of the first comprehensive statewide historic context about Montana’s African American heritage; documentation of places significant to that history; and production of a brief video introduction to the topic.

Big Sky Schoolhouse Survey, Montana Preservation Alliance, Helena, $3,000. Support for the culmination of a five-year statewide effort to locate and document all remaining historic one- and two-room schoolhouses in the state.

Indigenous Cinema Series, The Roxy Theater, Missoula, $1,000. A weekly November film series in partnership with the Indigenous Film Festival intended to highlight indigenous stories in honor of National Native American Heritage month.

The Armistice Day Centennial Commemoration, November 11, 2018, Western Heritage Center, Billings, $1,000. Programming, exhibits, and workshops offered at the Western Heritage Center during the fall of 2018 to commemorate the end of World War I.

Murder Mystery Weekend, Dillon Public Library, Dillon, $1,000. Daylong workshop featuring three regional mystery writers.

Place of the Little Bull Trout, 3rd Annual Indigenous Film Festival, Missoula Urban Indian Health Center, Missoula, $1,000. Two-day festival in April featuring Native American films, filmmakers, and scholars with discussion after each film.

Humanities Montana Staff is on the Road

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

– Dalai Lama

Executive Director Ken Egan, Director of Programs and Grants Kim Anderson, and Communications Director and Executive Assistant Brooke Beighle will all travel to New Orleans November 8-10 to attend the 2018 National Humanities Conference. Our program officer, Sam Dwyer, will be in Helena November 8-10. You’ll find her at the Lewis and Clark Library for an Informed Citizen event (see sidebar) or can join her for a hayride and philosophical nature walk with Merlin CCC, one of our grant recipients.

Thanks to Our Generous Supporters — October 2018


Almeda Bradshaw
Rita Collins**
Devin Egan
Tami Haaland
Marie Habener
Skip and Meg Herman
Joan Hoff**
Raela Hulett
Shanti Johnson
Bernard Rose
Hal Stearns**
Dorothea Susag
Stephen Sylvester**
Susan Talbot
Nicholas Vrooman


Bella Terra Billings
Madison Valley Public Library
Springs at Butte
Two Rivers Economic Growth
Valley County Historical Society

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