Montana State University

MSU observes American Indian Heritage Day Sept. 23 with cultural and intellectual presentations

September 16, 2016 -- MSU News Service

Gail Small, assistant professor of Native American studies, gives a class on Indian Law and Policy in Reid Hall at Montana State University. MSU will celebrate the intellectual contributions of American Indians on campus during 2016 American Indian Heritage Day Friday, Sept. 23. A variety of cultural and academic events have been scheduled on Sept. 23 as well as a tour of .Madison Buffalo Jump near Three Forks from an American Indian viewpoint on Sept. 24. MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

Montana State University will observe 2016 American Indian Heritage Day with a variety of cultural and academic events scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24.

The annual event pays tribute to the cultural legacy and societal contributions of American Indian people in Montana and the U.S. Organizers said this year’s events will focus on commemorating the intellectual and cultural contributions of the American Indian community. Invited presenters are from the Navajo Nation, Northern Cheyenne Reservation, and Bozeman community. MSU students, faculty and staff are invited to share their work during the poster and lecture presentation sessions.

“This year we are turning our attention to sharing American Indian knowledge and perspectives as we observe American Indian Heritage Day,” said Francine Spang-Willis, American Indian Alaska Native Student Success Program Manager and chair of the event. “We are eager to show the vibrancy of the American Indian community. And, we are honored to exhibit the work done by students, faculty, staff and alumni that is impacting American Indian peoples and communities.”

“Contribution toward American Indian and Alaska Native communities are being provided every day at MSU and other higher education institutions,” said Richard White, MSU director of American Indian and Alaska Native student support and one of the event organizers. “Many of the contributions address broad areas of study and scholarship that include health disparities, culturally responsive and inclusive class rooms/school environments, cultural continuity, and critical narratives and counter stories. Much of the research and expertise come from AI/AN students and faculty, in addition to supporters and allies who are striving to maintain and highlight the knowledge and diversity flourishing within indigenous communities in Montana and throughout the U.S. This year’s American Indian Heritage Day would like recognize those contributions as they will no doubt influence the future of our tribal nations.”

This year’s sessions will include a poster session demonstrating current academic research by American Indian students, faculty and staff from 9-11 a.m. in Renne Library and a lecture presentation in the Alumni Legacy Lounge of the Student Union Building, also from 9-11 a.m.

An information fair about support services for American Indian students will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in MSU’s Centennial Mall.

MSU President Waded Cruzado will kick off a series of cultural presentations at 1:15 p.m. in the Alumni Legacy Lounge.

Ferlin Clark, Ph.D., from the Navajo Nation from Crystal, New Mexico, will speak about indigenous cultural ecology at 1:30 p.m. Clark recently served as assistant secretary for Indian Education with the State of New Mexico. He formerly served as policy aide to the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President. He served as the 14th president of Diné College (formerly Navajo Community College), the first and oldest tribal college in the U.S.

Linwood Tall Bull, a Northern Cheyenne ethnobotanist and Bill Goold, of Friends of the Madison Buffalo Jump, will speak about the significance of the Madison Buffalo Jump at 2:45 p.m.  Tall Bull is a Headsman of the Dog Soldier Society, a traditional military society of the Northern Cheyenne. He is also a tribal historian, cultural consultant, and an ethnobotany instructor at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer with extensive knowledge of how the Northern Cheyenne use plants for nutritional, medicinal, and spiritual purposes. Goold, who recently graduated with a master’s in Native American Studies from MSU, is the founder and co-chairman of the regional nonprofit volunteer organization Friends of Madison Buffalo Jump.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Tall Bull and Goold will lead a tour of the Madison Buffalo Jump near Three Forks. The presentation is free and open to the public.

A full schedule, presenter bios, and presentation information can be found at the AIHD Schedule link located at

MSU American Indian Heritage Day is sponsored by the American Indian Studies Department/American Indian Alaska Native Student Success Services, the Office of the President, the Diversity Awareness Office, the College of Arts and Architecture, the Office of the Dean of Students, the College of Agriculture, the Office of Institutional Equity Office, the Office of Student Engagement, TRiO, Friends of the Madison Buffalo Jump and St. James Episcopal Church.

Francine Spang-Willis (406) 994-5529, or, Richard White, (406) 994-4880,