March 2024 Grant News

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Grantee Spotlight – Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

Aspen and Cameron Decker present to students during Coyote Stories in a Bubble
Students painting during Coyote Stories in a Bubble program

In February, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula welcomed Xʷlxʷilt to share their new Coyote Stories…In a Bubble experience with homeschooling families in and around the Missoula area and immerse youth in an easy and appropriate way to explore indigenous culture and history.

Youth from toddlers through age 12 participated in storytelling and plains sign language activities. Students aged 4 or older were invited to create art related to their lives and the stories shared by Aspen and Cameron Decker within the bubble, while parents and little ones explored the museum.

The program fostered cultural appreciation of and respect for Salish and Kootenai culture, and participating families appreciated the opportunity for their kids to learn about these cultures from tribal members and descendants.

We extend our thanks to the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula for offering this experiential learning opportunity to homeschooling families! To learn more about the museum’s educational programs visit

Recent Awardees

Congratulations to our most recent grantees! To learn more about these inspiring organizations and their projects, visit our grants awarded page.

Big Sky Reads

LPL Book Clubs, Lewistown Public Library, Lewistown, MT, $500. The LPL Book Clubs, hosted by the Lewistown Public Library, meet monthly at the library.

  • The Mystery Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month and reads true crime, mysteries, and paranormal fiction and nonfiction.
  • The Science Fiction & Fantasy Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month and alternates between genres.
  • The A-Z Club meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month and reads across a range of genres but is specifically marketed toward “newcomers to town and old souls” to encourage new residents to engage with their library and community.To learn more, contact Lewistown Public Library staff at (406) 538-5212 and visit the library’s website at

Wedsworth Memorial Library Book Club, Wedsworth Memorial Library, Cascade, MT, $500. The Wedsworth Memorial Library Book Club, hosted by Wedsworth Memorial Library, meets once a month in August, September, October, November, February, March, April, and May on the 2nd Monday at 5:00 p.m. To learn more, contact Nancy Royan at (406) 468-2848 or visit


The Man in the Arena, Mission Valley Live, Polson, MT, $2,000. Mission Valley Live, a community performing arts organization in Polson, will host The Man in the Arena, A Celebration of Theodore Roosevelt at North Lake County Public Library, the Ronan Library District, and high school and middle school history classes in Ronan and Polson in March 2024.

Derek Evans, a member of the Chicago History Museum and board member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association’s Chicago chapter, will portray President Theodore Roosevelt to educate local students and adults about the character of 26th President of the United States and share his profound and lasting vision for America and what it means to be both an American and a citizen of the world.

Montana Writers Rodeo, Montana Playwrights Network, Helena, MT, $2,000. The Montana Writers Rodeo, hosted by the Montana Playwrights Network, is a civic-engagement-minded conference for writers: fiction/non-fiction writers, playwrights, and screenwriters from across the state. The conference focuses on the education and development of writers, by professionals, in a relaxed communal space. This year’s theme is “Montana Inspires Story.” The Writers Rodeo will be held at the Helena Avenue Theatre on April 19–20, 2024.

Montana authors Russell Rowland, Debbie Burke, Leah Joki, and several others will join participants to share their expertise through storytelling, workshops, exercises, panel discussions, and author readings. The Montana Writers Rodeo will encourage discussions about writing and challenge attendees to consider deeply their own human nature and how this nature expresses itself through character, plot, and genre.

In Conversation: Translation and Identity, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT, $2,000. This translation project and free public lecture will feature thoughtful, engaging dialogue surrounding Crow language and culture. Grant funds will be used to support the work of Tim McCleary, the lead project translator and an instructor at Little Big Horn College on the nearby Crow Reservation, along with Vance Crooked Arm and Levi Yellowmule. This team will translate label text for Will Wilson’s exhibition into Crow. Providing additional labels for the exhibit in Crow will allow for deeper outreach and increased accessibility to the artwork for museum visitors.

A public discussion at the Yellowstone Art Museum on May 16, 2024, will engage audiences with Crow culture as well. The Will Wilson exhibition in particular explores traditional representations of Native peoples and uses Wilson’s contemporary photographs to address misconceptions.

Community Project Grants

Bringing the World to Eastern Montana and Eastern Montana to the World, World Affairs Council of Montana, Missoula, MT, $5,000. The Montana World Affairs Council (MWAC) will expand their Distinguished Speaker Programs in eastern Montana to engage citizens in civil discourse on key international dynamics through a new program and partnership with MSU Billings.

“Bringing the World to Eastern Montana and Eastern Montana to the World” will bring a range of internationally renowned experts, from Montana and beyond, to discussions about global dynamics that impact our communities, state, and nation. MWAC’s partnership with the MSU Billings Office of International Studies will support programming in Billings and at Little Big Horn College, Miles Community College, and Dawson Community College.

The Centering Indigenous Knowledge Webinar Series, Montana Campus Compact, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, $7,666. This initiative, facilitated through Montana Campus Compact, involves a comprehensive four-part webinar series highlighting indigenous scholars’ contributions.

The series, Centering Indigenous Knowledge, will take place in March 2024 and is open to both Montanans and other individuals interested in participating. The central theme, “Indigenous People and Place,” will bring together contemporary scholars and campus practitioners to explore knowledge related to individuals and locations.

Presenters for this series include Dakota Lajeunesse, Dr. Anita Moore-Nall, Aspen Decker, Mikalen Running Fisher, Jaylee Azure, Jeanette Gardipe, and Alfred Woodcock. Each presenter will delve into a specific professional topic, contributing valuable insights to the public understanding of Montana’s Indigenous peoples, cultures, and ways of life.

2024 Dillon Community Story Stroll, Dillon Public Library, Dillon, MT, $7,300. This project, a collaboration of the Dillon Public Library, Dillon School District 10, and the University of Montana Western, creates a community story stroll that is written by eighth- and first-grade classes, produced by the college, and distributed by the library. The 2024 Story Stroll will be based on three mentor texts: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, “What If You Had…”, and “Choose Your Own Story.”

The story debuts at the Night of Excellence at the elementary school, where family and community members can participate and stroll through the story boards. The story will then be displayed at the UM Western graduation for the family members of the college students to enjoy. Following the college, the story will be placed in local community parks, trails, and stores for community members to continue to enjoy throughout the summer; it will return to the college for orientation weekend.