By Sage Sutcliffe
Top Montana News Stories
1. Montana resolution calls for day of remembrance for Indian boarding school victims (Blair Miller / Daily Montanan)
Miller brings attention to Senate Joint Resolution 6, a measure prompting Montana and Congress to recognize the Indigenous survivors and descendants of those who were forced to attend one of Montana’s 18 boarding schools.
After hearing testimonies from Indigenous supporters of the resolution, Miller reports, “They said recognizing the 150-year effort to assimilate Indigenous youth and continue territorial grabs from Native tribes would be a step toward healing the trauma now passed down through generations.”
2. Bill revises Montana Indian Language Preservation program, elevating tribes (Nora Mabie / Missoulian)
Indigenous communities reporter Nora Mabie reports on changes to Montana’s Indian Language Preservation program through House Bill 287 in the Montana Legislature. Sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, the bill “revises MILP guidelines and requirements and elevates the role of tribal governments in preserving their own Native languages,” Mabie writes.
3. As calls for aid increase, volunteer fire departments struggle to respond (Justin Franz / Montana Free Press)
“As Montana’s population continues to grow, fire departments in communities large and small are being asked to do more every year. But the increase in calls is especially hard on smaller, volunteer departments,” writes UM alumnus Justin Franz.
4. How toxic are the grounds of a former pulp mill along the Clark Fork River? (Austin Amestoy / Montana Public Radio)
UM alumnus Austin Amestoy (’22) reports on the former Smurfit-Stone pulp mill, which is now a Superfund site near Frenchtown. Contamination still lingers, threatening nearby Montanans and wildlife. But as the title hints: it is unclear “how toxic” the site is today. Amestoy also covers locals’ conflict with the EPA in recent years over the site’s toxin level testing and eventual cleanup.
5. Missoula County opposes bill banning government-created solar-ready zones (Laura Lundquist / Missoula Current)
Several proponents of clean energy speak out against House Bill 241 in Lundquist’s piece. The bill would restrict governments from requiring certain types of zoning that would make installing solar or electric vehicle charging stations easier for future homeowners, if they choose to do so.
“Solar readiness is not a huge ask. It is simply making sure there is enough space on the roof for solar panels should the new tenants of this building decide to go solar,” said Ian Lund with the Montana Environmental Information Center, who opposes HB 241.
Top Environment and Science Stories
1. Tired of being told to ‘adapt,’ an Indigenous community wrote its own climate action plan (Carly Graf / Grist)
Grist’s Cities + Solutions series features six stories that highlight sustainable action taken at a local level. This one, written by Carly Graf, focuses on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in the Flathead Reservation.
The Tribes have created a “living document,” a plan for climate mitigation that will adapt to the constant change around them. The plan, and the action they have already taken to protect native species of flora and fauna, is a testament to the Tribes’ dedication to living sustainably.
Graf quotes Shelly Fyant, former chair of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council: “We have a proven track record of sustainability. We can trace it back 14,000 years.”
2. Foods harvested throughout the seasons make up a wintertime meal (Laureli Ivanoff / High Country News)
In this piece, Inupiaq writer Laureli Ivanhoff details an evening of preparing, sharing and enjoying nikipiaq, a Native food with her family. The food is all collected by family members or traded with friends during earlier seasons and saved for the wintertime.
At the end of their meal, Ivanhoff writes, “All throughout my childhood, I heard my mom or my grandma chop frozen berries after a nourishing meal of nikipiaq. It felt good to do this simple, loving act, just like them.”
Top Alumni/Student Story
1. Mental health bills abound at Wyoming Legislature (Madelyn Beck / WyoFile)
UM alumna Madelyn Beck (’15) is hard at work covering the Wyoming Legislature. Her latest news roundup brings attention to the 20 mental health-related measures on the docket this session. Beck carefully summarizes the assumed need for more mental health care legislation in the state, then narrows in on five bills that are of being followed closely by proponents of mental health measures.
Editor’s Note: In an effort to celebrate and highlight some of the best journalism happening in Montana, in environmental and science journalism as well as the good work being produced by our UM J-School alumni, each week, the School of Journalism is compiling these stories in this new feature: Good Work Wednesday. Look for it every week and if you have suggestions of journalism works we should highlight, email Good Work Wednesday curator and grad student Sage Sutcliffe at firstname.lastname@example.org.