Homepage 2023

Regaining Ground

Montana tribes exercise sovereignty for more than land


The LandBack movement stretches from the physical return of Indigenous homelands to the strengthening of tribal sovereignty. It’s a movement that has been ramping up for a long time — some say since 1492. Yet, the gears are turning, and LandBack is gaining momentum.
With the appointment of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, as and the first Indigenous person to run the government’s 420 million acres of federal lands, LandBack is on the agenda for many tribes.
The Native News Honors Project traveled to Montana’s seven reservations and 12 tribes to see what new progress they have made in the LandBack movement. While some tribes are acquiring new land, others harness the movement through sovereignty.

Read the full introduction here.

The Long Return

The Assiniboine and Sioux fight to reclaim sacred items and remains

An Empowered Future

The Tsis tsis’tas look to the sky for renewable energy

Barriers to Buying

Salish and Kootenai envision homeownership for their middle class

With Land Comes Water

After establishing the basis for tribal water rights more than a century ago, the Aaniiih and Nakoda tribes close in on a $1.3 billion settlement

Land is Language

The Chippewa Cree work to revitalize the languages through a newly formed immersion program 

Breaking Old Ground

Little Shell Chippewa Tribe develop land with federal funds

Guardians of Ninnahstako 

The Aamsskáápipikani implement first U.S. co-management conservation program between a tribe and the National Park Service

2023 Staff

Meet the 32nd annual Native News Montana staff.

Download PDF version


The Native News Honor Project is reported, photographed, edited and designed by students at the University of Montana School of Journalism. This is the 32nd annual edition. The team appreciates the advice and counsel for the project received from Kate Schimel, news and investigations editor at High Country News; Anna V. Smith, associate editor for the High Country News Indigenous affairs desk; and Kalen Goodluck, photographer and investigative journalist. We also appreciate the assistance of the students in Dennis Swibold’s News Editing class.
Funding support for the 2023 publication came from the University of Montana School of Journalism and the Greater Montana Foundation, encouraging communication on issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans.
If you have comments about the project, email christine.trudeau@umontana.edu, jason.begay@umontana.edu, or jeremy.lurgio@umontana.edu or write to Native News, School of Journalism, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812.