Montana Public Radio

Little Shell Chippewa Tribe

Little Shell Portraits: Terrie LaRocque

Jul 13, 2020
Terrie LaRocque
Allison Berrian

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them. Here, student Allison Berrian produced this interview with Terrie LaRocque, who until recently worked at the Little Shell tribal headquarters.

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.

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them.

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them. 

In this story, reporter Stephanie Maltarich finds Little Shell members in Missoula, Montana, who are trying to find each other through social media, genealogy and public events. 

Little Shell Portraits: John Gilbert

Jun 19, 2020
John Gilbert
Evan Bartel

After the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians gained federal recognition six months ago, students from the University of Montana School of Journalism talked at length with tribal members about what that means to them. In this story, student Evan Bartel introduces former chairman of the tribe, John Gilbert.

Little Shell Nationhood Passes Six Month Mark

Jun 19, 2020
University of Montana School of Journalism

Last year, the federal government recognized a new tribe in Montana; the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa.  As the tribe determines what federal aid will mean for its members, many people are learning its history for the first time.

Native American tribes in Montana are beginning to use federal funds to bolster their response to the novel coronavirus.

The Crow Tribe announced they received $25 million from the U.S. Treasury. The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe received $25 million, per Chairman Gerald Gray. According to the office of Sen. Steve Daines, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes received over $24 million.

Native American tribes are taking varied approaches to Gov. Steve Bullock’s announcement Wednesday that Montana will lift the statewide stay at home order.

Some plan to align local restrictions with the state, while others will forge their own path.

The Indian Health Service is facilitating coronavirus testing in tribal communities across the United States and in Montana. 


This weekend, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians celebrated something generations have fought for and that 400 other U.S. tribes are without: federal recognition.

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