Skip To Main Content

Indian Education for All

What is Indian Education for All?

In 1972, Montana rewrote the State Constitution. Within Article X, Section 1, Subsection 2, it is written…

     “The state recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indians and is committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural integrity.”

Out of 100 delegates, there were no American Indians representatives among them. Yet the 1972 delegates recognized the importance of ALL Montanans learning about the culture and history of our state’s first peoples. 

In 1999, Montana State Law MCA 20-1-501, formally known as Indian Education for All was passed. In 2023, an Act revising Indian Education for All provided further definition:

     1. It is the constitutionally declared policy of this state to recognize the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians and to be committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural heritage.

     2. It is the intent of the legislature that in accordance with Article X, section 1(2), of the Montana constitution: a) every Montanan, whether Indian or non-Indian learn about the distinct and unique heritage of American Indians in a culturally responsive manner; and b) every educational agency work cooperatively with Montana tribes or those tribes that are in close proximity, when providing instruction or when implementing an educational goal or adopting a rule related to the education of each Montana citizen, to include information specific to the cultural heritage and contemporary contributions of American Indians, with particular emphasis on Montana Indian tribal groups and governments.

     3. It is also the intent of this part, predicated on the belief that all school personnel should have an understanding and awareness of Indian tribes to help relate effectively with Indian students and parents, that educational agencies provide means by which school personnel will gain an understanding of and appreciation for the American Indian people.

In 2005, the Montana Legislature approved Senate Bill 152, setting forth a definition of a quality education for Montana students. Montana State Law MCA 20-9-309, section 2, outlines 8 components that define a quality education. Indian Education for All is one of the 8 components.