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Ceremony heralds opening of American Indian Hall at MSU

Posted at 10:39 AM, Oct 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 10:36:52-04

(BOZEMAN) The new American Indian Hall at Montana State University opened its doors to the public on Saturday, drawing a crowd of more than 1,000 people.

The concept of American Indian Hall began in 2004, and now a fully-realized building stands tall against the blue sky of the Treasure State.

Elders, contractors, students, and community members gathered in front of the newly constructed hall to reflect on the past, present, and future of the American Indian culture at MSU.

“Students can easily get lost where they don’t have any sense of home or community. American Indian Hall gives us both—a home and community—and so we’re very excited that we can share that, with not just the native people but the community of the valley,” Dr. Walter Fleming said.

Fleming is a professor and the department head for Native American studies at MSU and notes the cultural value throughout the building.

From rawhide-inspired handles to sweetgrass painted on sliding doors and intricate star designs throughout the building, truly each aspect of the hall was carefully considered.


“It was incredible; we were approached by different people involved with the construction and furnishings,” said MSU student Danielle Antelope. “Students had a large hand in the building.”

Antelope is a senior studying Sustainable Foods and Bioenergy Systems. She has the desire to work with Native food systems and help tribes around the state incorporate these sustainable and cultural foods into their daily lives.

From pillars adorned with fire and water-like stones, to star emblems throughout the building and ceiling, and showing the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison River system on the concrete floor of the build.

The trees that used to reside on the land which American Indian Hall is built, is still on-sight, simply in a different form.


MSU architecture students, such as Aleck Gantick, designed furnishings for the building using the pre-existing trees. From benches outside to drawers inside, it seems that each corner of the Hall is laced with symbolism.

The building stands for more than just the present, but also future generations of Native American students that will be walking down the halls of MSU.

American Indian Hall at a glance