Leadership Montana Classroom Reflection: Indigenous Immersion Initiative Reflection: John Morrison, Helena, Class of 2005 and III 2022
Masters Class Session: Stephen Schreibeis
March 31, 2022
Flagship Session: Tim Guardipee
April 9, 2022


John Morrison, Helena, Class of 2005 and III 2022

Indigenous Immersion Initiative Reflection

Session 1 

John Morrison, Helena, Class of 2005 and III 2022

Our first gathering was held in the Paradise Valley, which we are told is historically a common hunting ground of the Indigenous tribes. Thanks to Arthur Blank’s West Creek Ranch for the meeting place, which was just right.

Marci, Samuel, Cinda, Misty, and Jim were our leaders and teachers. Marci and Chantel provided thoughtful, calming, and seamless facilitation. Other participants, all Leadership Montana alumni, many specially trained and experienced now in the concepts of Gracious Space, come from across Montana and bring an array of skills and knowledge to the room. I am reminded of the trust and sharing and honesty that the Leadership Montana format inspires.

Indoors and outside, we explored the history of Native American boarding schools and other tactics used by settlers and the U.S. Government to displace the people who lived on this land and to deal with “the Indian Problem.” We smudged and passed the talking stick; we shared, contemplated, and absorbed. As usual at Leadership Montana, we made fast new friends.

We witnessed and began to reflect on the inter-generational trauma that the Native peoples have suffered. There are no easy or quick solutions, but progress begins with understanding the trauma that our Indigenous neighbors suffer even today. I would like to be able to adopt a policy and solve the problems facing Indian families and communities, but it will take time. The path to empathy and healing is long and the route is not clear. I am sure, though, that the sign at the trailhead says “Listen.”

Can’t wait for our next session.