Episode 37: Leadership Montana’s 20-Year AnniversaryJanuary 18, 2023
Episode 39: Indigenous Immersion Initiative Mini-Series episode 2March 8, 2023
LISTEN FIRST MONTANA
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Episode 38: Indigenous Immersion Initiative Mini-Series episode 1
Introducing a new Listen First Montana mini-series: the Indigenous Immersion Initiative. Join the first cohort of Leadership Montana’s newest program as they visit Tribal Nations and communities across Montana to learn about the unique and vibrant indigenous cultures in Montana. We’ll give listeners an inside look at how program participants are learning and reflecting on the people, opportunities, and challenges of Montana’s indigenous communities. In this first episode, we hear three short conversations from the Blackfeet Nation. The first conversation features Chantel Schieffer, President and CEO of Leadership Montana, and Major Robinson, Chair of Leadership Montana’s Indigenous Advisory Committee. Chantel and Major discuss the original idea for the program, what Major hopes the impact of the program will be, and how they both seek to carry on the legacy of Barbara Braided Hair. We also hear from Chuck Winn about his experience visiting Browning, MT, for the first time, and we hear from Jim Bliss about why he joined the program and has been challenged by the idea of racism.
“We’re just asking people ‘come and open up your minds and your hearts. And hear this new perspective and allow yourself to view if from a very open lens so that you can really hear what people are sharing.’”
“I hope that what it does is plant the seed in each one of the participants to just open themselves up and say ‘hmm, I didn’t look at it from that perspective before.’ OK. And take that back to their communities, back to their families, and start to shift this idea of judging people just on looks alone, or based on stories, or in some cases based on one experience – of their experience with an Indian community or, you know, a native American. So I’m hoping that the seeds are being planted for that. For people to take it back to their families and share with them. And as I shared this morning, it’s happening the same for myself with my experiences as a native person is that I’m taking these experiences back to my family too, and it’s nice to know that there are folks out there who are willing to put down their biases their prejudices their past history and say ‘no, let’s look at things as they are today.’“
“This is Montana, this is the heart of Montana and I didn’t feel comfortable here, and it really bothered me, why? It wasn’t because I feared my safety, it was because I felt like a stranger, and that’s on me. That’s where the shame comes from, growing up here and not reaching out to everyone in Montana, not just the places I am, but the places I’m not. You know, we either lean in or lean out and I felt like I was leaning out and I’m ashamed that I didn’t lean in, and once I started meeting some folks and talking to them and today this experience has been amazing – we’re all the same, if we go down deep enough, we’re all the same. And that’s where we can start to build our relationships back up.”