University of Montana School of Journalism

A photo of Linda Watson shuffling through Little Shell Tribe enrollment applications.
Kevin Trevellyan / YPR

Roughly six months ago, the federal government officially recognized the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians as a sovereign nation. It was national news then. But what does it mean now for the members and descendants of Little Shell? Nine students from the University of Montana School of Journalism spent a semester reporting on the impact of recognition on what has long been considered Montana’s “landless tribe.” This story is part of the student-produced series, Project Little Shell.

It's February, about two months after the tribe received the federal recognition it had sought for more than 130 years. Linda Watson is shuffling papers at her desk at the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians' headquarters in Great Falls. She's received a lot of phone calls recently.

Little Shell Portraits: Terrie LaRocque

Jul 10, 2020
A photo of Terrie LaRocque
Allison Berrian

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them. Here, student Allison Berrian produced this interview with Terrie LaRocque, who until recently worked at the Little Shell tribal headquarters.

“I was living up on the Hi line in Chinook for about 20 years. I used to be a semi truck driver, and so, I bought a house and got married and lived up there for a long time. But when I got divorced, I have three brothers that live here in town and they wanted me to move down here. They found a job before I even found a place to live.

Little Shell: Three Generations of Enrollment

Jul 1, 2020
Ekoo Beck looks through family photos with her grandma in Browning, Montana, 2020.
Victor Yvellez/Yellowstone Public Radio

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them.

Little Shell Portraits: Iko’tsimiskimaki 'Ekoo' Beck

Jun 29, 2020
Iko’tsimiskimaki “Ekoo” Beck
Victor Yvellez/Yellowstone Public Radio

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them.

In this story, reporter Victor Yvellez spoke with Iko’tsimiskimaki “Ekoo” Beck, who is in the process of disenrolling Blackfeet to join the recently recognized Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. 

Little Shell tribal members greet each other at an event.
Stephanie Maltarich/Yellowstone Public Radio

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them. 

In this story, reporter Stephanie Maltarich finds Little Shell members in Missoula, Montana, who are trying to find each other through social media, genealogy and public events. 

Little Shell Nationhood Passes Six Month Mark

Jun 18, 2020
A photo of the outskirtks of Little Shell of Chippewa Indian Reservation.
University of Montana School of Journalism

Roughly six months ago, the federal government officially recognized the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians as a sovereign nation. It was national news then. But what does it mean now for the members and descendents of Little Shell? Nine students from the University of Montana School of Journalism spent a semester reporting on the impact of recognition on what has long been considered Montana’s “landless tribe.” This story is part of the student produced series, Project Little Shell.

Little Shell Portraits: John Gilbert

Jun 18, 2020
A photo of John Gilbert taken on March 22, 2020.
Evan Bartel

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them. In this story, student Evan Bartel introduces former chairman of the tribe, John Gilbert.