HELENA – The Montana Office of Public Instruction is highlighting American Indian success stories with a new series of “Montana Proud” posters.
State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen’s office showcased 14 new posters Wednesday in an event at the State Capitol. Many of the people featured in the series were in attendance.
Each poster features a young American Indian, along with their achievements and their advice to young people. They will be distributed to all Montana middle schools and high schools.
Arntzen said she hopes the Montana Proud posters will inspire all students in the state.
“Somebody can look up to that and say, ‘Who are those people? How did they get to be there? Let me find that path. I could be that leader,’” she said.
This is the second round of Montana Proud posters that OPI has produced. Leaders say many of those original posters are still hanging up, a decade after they were introduced.
Mariah Gladstone created an online cooking show called Indigikitchen, focusing on native people’s traditional ingredients. She said the leaders on the first round of Montana Proud posters were inspirations for her as she attended primarily non-Native schools, and that she set a goal of one day being on those posters herself.
“It’s incredible to feel that I might have the same role as a face on a wall as so many of the previous individuals that have come before me did for me,” she said.
Shane Morigeau, an attorney and Montana state representative from Missoula, said he grew up not expecting to go to college. He said he wants his poster to be a reminder that young people shouldn’t underestimate themselves.
“I want young people to see the posters and recognize that they shouldn’t take themselves out of the game before they’ve put up a shot,” he said. “I want young people to realize that they are capable, and that we all have tough days and struggles, but if we push forward, we’ll weather all the storms.”