A bill making Montana the second state in the nation to provide funds for Native language immersion programs in public schools passed in the legislature today.
Sponsored by Democratic Senator Jonathan Windy Boy from the Rocky Boy Reservation, reverses the state’s historic policies, which punished Native American students for speaking their languages in the public schools. Hawai’i is the only other state that provides funding for Native language immersion programs. Windy Boy says he is proud that Montana is helping to lead the way.
“We’re investing in a population of this state that has been neglected for too long," said Windy Boy. "I think that by investing in those human resources I think is really, is going to be the best investment that we can provide for all of Montana to be a better place to live in.”
Windy Boy says he initiated the bill in hopes of keeping Native American students engaged in school.