The U.S. Department of Education has recognized I LEAD’s success with a $2 million grant to support 40 more students.

Montana State University

The U.S. Department of Education has recognized I LEAD’s success with a $2 million grant to support 40 more students.

Montana State University Is Dedicated to Natives

Located in Bozeman, Montana, Montana State University (MSU) has a long history of commitment and dedication to the Native American community. To show continued support, this year the Montana State University Library is sponsoring a mural contest for its students that will feature Native American tribes of Montana.

According to its website, the 17.5-foot-by-7.5-foot mural is intended to represent the scope of MSU’s Special Collections, with a particular emphasis on Yellowstone National Park, Montana’s Native Americans, and trout and salmonids. The winning mural will be displayed outside the Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections reading room in the library. The winning student or students will also receive budget for materials needed to produce the mural and a $1,000 grand prize.

This contest is available to any actively enrolled MSU students and “applications will be reviewed based on the intended use of appropriate materials and responsiveness to site, as well as artistic excellence,” says the website. Applications are to include a project proposal, proposed materials budget, a portfolio of 20 images of the artist’s work, a résumé, and a signed copy of the Public Art Procedures document, found on the MSU School of Art website.

Contestants should submit their application no later than five p.m. on Friday, November 29 in PDF form to Robin Francis at or by mail to Special Collections mural competition, MSU Library, P.O. Box 173320, Bozeman, Montana 59717. For questions or more information, contact Jim Thull, special collections librarian, at

The university also offers its students the opportunity to gain a deep understanding and knowledge of the state’s Native Americans through their Native American studies (NAS) program. This academic program includes an undergraduate nonteaching minor, the first online graduate certificate, and a master of arts through an interdisciplinary program of study in Native American culture, history, policy, law, community affairs, education and more. The program also provides opportunities for individual and community research through independent study, internships and special topics courses.

As the focal point for most Native American students at MSU, each fall the Department of Native American Studies offers the Native Pathways to Success orientation program for incoming Native American freshman. It also houses the Native student adviser’s office and the American Indian Student Center. The NAS department maintains close liaisons with other university programs and services, including the Office of Student Success, American Indian Research Opportunities, University Studies and the Diversity Awareness Office.

The department also provides a strong academic program in Native American Studies, academic and personal counseling, tutoring services, scholarships, emergency loans and other support for Native American students. Each year the NAS department awards three $1,000 scholarships to honor and promote academic excellence. Awarded on the basis of academic achievement and leadership, the Phyllis Berger Memorial Scholarships are provided to support promising Native American students at MSU. Application deadline is the first Friday in March.

In continuation of its dedication to the Native American community, this year, the university’s Indian Leadership Education and Development (I LEAD) program, conducted in conjunction with Little Big Horn College, prepared another 40 American Indian educators to take principal and superintendent positions in schools with high populations of Native children.

The U.S. Department of Education has recognized the program’s success—50 of its 68 graduates are now in principal, superintendent or other administrative positions in Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska and Wyoming schools—with a $2 million grant to support 40 more students.

For more information about Montana State University, visit

RELATED: Montana State University Trains American Indian Educators for Top Positions


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Montana State University Is Dedicated to Natives