Montana Public Radio

Linda Watson

Spurred by Pandemic, Little Shell Tribe Fast-Tracks Its Health Service Debut

Feb 22, 2021
Linda Watson, enrollment officer for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, was the first person to receive a dose from the tribe’s covid-19 vaccine supply.
Kevin Trevellyan / Yellowstone Public Radio

Linda Watson draped a sweater with the words “Little Shell Chippewa Tribe” over her as she received the newly recognized tribal nation’s first dose of covid-19 vaccine.

“I wanted to show my pride in being a Little Shell member,” Watson, 72, said. “The Little Shell are doing very good things for the people.”

Linda Watson shuffling through Little Shell Tribe enrollment applications.
Kevin Trevellyan / Yellowstone Public Radio

Roughly six months ago, the federal government officially recognized the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians as a sovereign nation. It was national news then. But what does it mean now for the members and descendants of Little Shell? Nine students from the University of Montana School of Journalism spent a semester reporting on the impact of recognition on what has long been considered Montana’s “landless tribe.” This story is part of the student-produced series, Project Little Shell.