In this presentation, Buck Hitswithastick tackles the urgent issue of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples in Montana and beyond. By delving into the systemic roots of this crisis, including the legacy of colonialism and ongoing discrimination, we aim to raise awareness and promote change. Through dynamic discussions and visual aids, we will explore strategies for advocacy, such as policy reforms and community-driven initiatives. The presentation seeks to shed light on the alarming rates of missing and murdered Indigenous individuals, as well as the resilient efforts of Indigenous communities to combat this crisis. Attendees will also learn about the crucial role of ally-ship and community support in preventing and responding to cases of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Buck Hitswithastick (Morigeau) is a lifelong student of northwestern Native American peoples. His focus has primarily been on his culture, the Bitterroot Salish of western Montana. He began his study of Native histories and cultures in his late teens. With nothing but a jacket full of modest supplies and a machete for survival, he started camping alone with his fire under the Big Sky in the Lolo National Forest. From there he sought out mentors to further his education in traditional arts and Tribal history to help satisfy his thirst for Native American traditional values and culture. Throughout the years that followed this primal introduction to Northwestern and Plains Indian studies, Buck attended Salish Kootenai College (SKC) and participated in numerous other conferences and trainings that pertained to the specific areas of study he was focusing on at the time. He has instructed students of all ages and backgrounds, even teaching the Bitterroot Salish language for thirteen years at an elementary school on the Flathead Reservation in Northwest Montana. Today Buck teaches the same class at SKC, “Reservation Arts” that he himself took from his mentor teacher many years ago. Buck also apprenticed with a renowned Salish elder and master weaver for years before finally being certified by the Montana Arts Council for basketry.
Buck has been guided by numerous well-respected tribal instructors and co-teachers. Buck formed a deep relationship based on historical and spiritual studies with those elders and holds dear the many hours of formal and informal discussions had with them. Buck contributes countless hours as a volunteer to teaching traditional arts, culture, and history to people. Armed with that and his own family’s cultural history, Buck takes his knowledge on the road to share with audiences big and small. You can find him motivational speaking on wellness and history from a cultural perspective, presenting modern war dance, or his primitive collection, including dress, tools, and weaponry. Buck is honored to help groups and individuals to learn and incorporate central warriorship lessons, that every person has a specific value to the betterment of the whole of society.