A fundamental value of Northern Plains is that everyday people should be able to participate in the decisions that impact their communities. Our member-leaders are living those values in Helena, advancing our mission in hearing rooms throughout the Capitol building. Here are some more testimony excerpts from this past week:
Tom Mexicancheyenne, a Northern Plains board member, testified in front of the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee in support of SB 141. Sponsored by Sen. Morigeau (D-Missoula), SB 141 would replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.
“I’m a Northern Cheyenne tribal member; I’m here also as a Northern Plains member,” Tom told the committee. “We have heard many people talk [in this hearing], and they are from all walks of life: teachers, college professors, professionals, even traditional people have spoken about why this [holiday] should be changed.”
Tom testified towards the end of a very long hearing. Many people who spoke in support of the bill highlighted acts of violence, slavery, and genocide that were carried out by Christopher Columbus (or under his direction) once he arrived on this continent, and raised questions about why we continue to celebrate his violent legacy.
Norane Freistadt, a Northern Plains member who lives in Helena, testified in front of the Senate State Administration Committee opposing SB 200. Sponsored by Sen. Hertz (R-Polson), SB 200 would inject partisanship into nonpartisan elections, including judicial races, by allowing candidates to identify party affiliation on the ballot.
We are happy to report that SB 200 was tabled in committee on February 10th! Thanks to Norane and others who testified and took action to protect our democracy!