Jan 30, 2013 12:52 AM by Marnee Banks (Helena)
HELENA - Native American lawmakers say they are willing to work with both political parties to get their bills passed this session.
The American Indian Caucus held a press conference on Tuesday to outline their legislative priorities.
MT State Senator Shannon Augare (D-Browning) says they will focus on protecting voting rights and managing the bison population.
MT State Senator Jonathan Windy Boy (D-Box Elder) says they are also going to take money from the Indian Education For All program to support preserving Native American languages.
Windy Boy said, "Gone are the days that we are forced to cut our braids and stop speaking our Native languages. This is going to be a new day this session where we have strong support for our causes."
The American Indian Caucus is also supporting measures to eliminate taxation of tribal government lands.
The Montana Legislature website lists the following members of the American Indian Caucus:
Montana House of Representatives
- Clarena Brockie (D) HD 32, Harlem
- Forrestina "Frosty" Calf Boss Ribs (D) HD 15, Heart Butte
- Carolyn Pease-Lopez (D) HD 42, Billings
- Rae Peppers (D) HD 41, Lame Deer
- Lea Whitford (D) HD 16, Cut Bank
- Shannon Augare (D) SD 8, Browning
- Sharon Stewart-Peregoy (D) SD 21, Crow Agency
- Jonathan Windy Boy (D) SD 16, Box Elder