HELENA – The Native American community proposed five main topics of discussion during the Montana Tribal Relations Council meeting on Thursday.
Academics, economic development, healthcare, drug use and preserving Native American culture were topics of discussion.
Representatives from the healthcare community, the governor’s office and economic development members all attended the meeting in hopes of creating a plan that would make the lives of Native Americans better.
“It’s really just looking at what do we have and what can we do as a committee looking at address policy or if there are law changes what are those things that need to be done in the future,” said Cut Bank Senator Lea Whitford, District-8.
Written within the draft plan, it explains how Native academic success starts with a quality home-life, nutrition and a supportive community.
“Find resources such as treatment and how to get into those treatment centers or to get counseling those are some of the things our people are lacking in the terms of resources,” said Whitford.
The Council discussed how the unemployment rate on Montana’s reservations is the highest in the state.
“As far as the agenda items, we are being proactive now there’s a lot that has happened, positive for Indian Country, but a lot has to happen,” said Senator Jonathan ‘Windy Boy’, Chair Montana Tribal Relations Committee.
The council expressed interest in developing the use of mobile job search facilities on reservations to increase the number of job applicants. They also discussed how Native American youth are actively engaged in these such topics.
“Come and visit us and just let us know what your concerns are and what your topics are and what you are possibly looking for youth across the state. I would encourage our committee action people…you know what you are…you get out there and do all the hard work, maybe you need to just visit with someone of us and we are just really open to working with people are hearing what they have to say,” said Whitford.