This presentation celebrates the vibrant legacy and enduring spirit of Montana’s Indigenous peoples. Buck Hitswithastick will embark on a journey through the multifaceted history and culture of Montana’s Native communities, spanning from ancient times to the present. By highlighting pivotal figures and moments, he confronts the historical shadows of racism that have affected Montana’s First Nations. Hitswithastick delves into the policies and practices that have marginalized Native Americans, including forced displacement, the era of boarding schools, and the impact of blood quantum requirements. Furthermore, he will explore how these historical factors continue to impact Native American communities today, including issues such as missing and murdered Indigenous women and the ongoing struggle for tribal sovereignty.
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.