Montana Public Radio

Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Rep. Sharon Greef, Governor Greg Gianforte, and Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen are pictured at the HB 176 bill signing, April 19, 2021.
Gov. Gianforte's office

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed several bills into law this week, including policies to end same-day voting registration and change voter ID requirements; limit local public health powers; expand telehealth access; give businesses tax breaks for vocational training; allow insurance companies to consider gender when setting rates; address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people; and update state laws after federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Tribes Report Highest Vaccination Rates in Montana

Mar 22, 2021

While Gov. Greg Gianforte recently announced that all Montanans will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on Apr. 1, tribal nations in the state have made the vaccine available to everyone and are currently reporting some of the highest vaccination rates in Montana.

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.”

The Little Shell Tribe saw their highest voter turnout yet for tribal elections. YPR News’ Kaitlyn Nicholas spoke with reelected Chairman Gerald Gray about his previous term and his future goals for the tribe.

On Nov. 8, members of the Montana Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians reelected all incumbent council members and executive board officials, including Chairman Gerald Gray to his third four year term appointment.

Gray says securing federal recognition was his biggest focus during his last term as Chairman.

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.


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.

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.

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