This state initiative, begun in 1972 with the rewriting of the Montana Constitution, integrated into Montana law in 1999, and funded in 2005, has gained momentum as I've grown as a teacher. I have worked in tribal schools for 15 years and I wrote my doctoral dissertation on this topic while IEFA training and materials have been shaped, promoted, and disseminated in various ways across the state. It's a part of me, and so when Eliza Sorte Thomas asked me to kick off her IEFA showcase today, all I could think was...superheroes!
I talked to the group this morning about the continuing need for spokespeople in our state to support IEFA, and the different roles we might take: outspoken advocates, silent leaders, and those with the ability and humility to take on another's perspective in order to help them reflect on it. I showed the clips my son and I had chosen to exemplify the actions of these superheroes. I handed out business cards that proclaimed the holder is a "Superhero IEFA Educator"!
But my talk was just the start of the day. The next event was an inventive historical-musical show put on by Jack Gladstone (Blackfeet), Rob Quist, and Dave Griffith. Jack's project was a tribute to Charlie Russell, and so he sang about Montana history in relation to Russell's work, particularly from an Indian perspective and punctuating songs with historical information and commentary.
Louis Charlo, Salish soldier who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. It was a neat two-way connection.
Driving home through the wind and snow squalls I was reminded again of the beauty of this place, and the respect we must give it...and each other.