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Blackfeet Nation Looks To Expand Head Start Programs

Seal of the Blackfeet Nation
Courtesy Blackfeet Nation

With the classes for language, culture and younger children facing high demand, the Blackfeet Nation is looking to grow the reservation's Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

The current programs serve roughly 400 kids, and on Wednesday, the Nation received the federal grant funds needed to maintain those services. But that almost $4 million isn’t enough to serve everyone in need of the program’s services.

Mennetta Armstrong oversees the Blackfeet Early Childhood Center, which houses Head Start.

“We cover educational, we cover social services, we cover disabilities, we cover nutrition," she said.

Armstrong said the Early Head Start program, which serves children ages zero to three, always has a waiting list.

"Our program, we work with the low-income families, homeless, single-parents, disabilities," she said. "They’re the majority that comes in first.”

The tribe has applied for several competitive grants to expand that piece of the program and its language and cultural components, according to Armstrong. That includes trainings for parents so they can continue education at home.

She said they will find out whether that funding will come through later this year.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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