Montana Public Radio

Kaitlyn Nicholas

Kaitlyn Nicholas is the production intern behind The Weekender, a new, half-hour podcast from YPR. She grew up in Seeley Lake, Montana and now splits her time between the mountains and New York City, where she is a MA candidate in longform journalism at NYU.

For the first time, almost every county in Montana is using all-mail in ballots this election season. Voters can still drop off their ballots in person if they want. But experts say mailing ballots is the best way to make the election accessible during the pandemic. This new system is bringing with it all kinds of uncertainties about logistics, reliability and the timeframe of the results. Still, election officials are trying to figure out how to make it work for everybody.

This is Shared State, a podcast about what's driving Montana's 2020 elections and where the outcomes could lead us. This week, "Equality of Opportunity."

In Ronan, Montana.
Tailyr Irvine

Dating in small-town Montana can be tough. For Native Americans, a government-imposed tribal enrollment system dating back to the 1900's has made the dating pool even more complicated.

Salish and Kootenai photojournalist Tailyr Irvine explores the ties and binds of love and identity in “Reservation Mathematics,” an exhibit showing at the Smithsonian through October. The 2019 National Geographic Explorer and We, Women artist spoke with YPR News' Kaitlyn Nicholas about her exhibit and work.

The chairman of Crow Nation issued an executive order July 16 extending a reservation-wide “Stay at your place of residence” order until Aug. 31.


The Montana State-Tribal Relations Committee is seeking public comment on nine bill proposals related to runaway youth, motor carrier services, missing persons and federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe.

The most recent data analysis this week by Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services revealed more about COVID-19’s impact on Native Americans. 

New analysis from the state health department shows Native Americans account for less than 7 percent of Montana’s population but were 36 percent of the 22 people who had died from Covid-19.

The report from Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services also found that Native Americans represent 15 percent of the state’s total cases, more than double their representation in Montana’s population.

Billings Public Schools are opening an investigation into a middle school principal following the possible connection to social media posts a local superintendent calls "appalling."

Superintendent of Billings Public Schools Greg Upham opened an investigation Tuesday into Medicine Creek Middle School's Principal Nikki Hofmann.

He says concerning social media posts were shared by an account potentially attached to Hofmann.

Last weekend, Montana saw its biggest spike yet in COVID-19 cases. YPR reports how the disease is impacting Native Americans across the state.

A film made on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and starring Miss Blackfeet has won a major award.