Marci McLean

Marita Growing Thunder sews ribbon skirts to remember missing and murdered indigenous women.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

  

Marita Growing Thunder, 19, is sitting in the grass on a warm spring afternoon at the University of Montana campus in Missoula where she studies art. Growing up, she said, her mom was always talking about aunt Yvonne.

Jackie Yamanaka

Thousands of people gathered at events across Montana Saturday to participate in this year’s Women’s March. Each event had its own organizers and theme.  

In Billings, the organizers issued this call to action, run for something. State Senator Jen Gross, one of the organizers, says that could be a run for elected office, run to the polls, or to run to a community organization and volunteer.


Graduation ceremonies this spring became the testing ground for a new state law that protects tribal members’ right to wear regalia at significant public events. Most have gone off without a hitch — students across the state are receiving their diplomas in beaded caps and gowns, but schools are still trying to figure out how to implement the new law.

Gov. Steve Bullock will hold a signing ceremony tomorrow for a bill that will allow Native Americans to wear traditional regalia during public events, including high school graduations.

“This bill means a lot to me. It’s important that our youth are able to display their culture and their identity during monumental events, such as graduation,” says Marci McLean, the director of Western Native Voice, a nonprofit advocacy group.