Senate Bill No. 117

Introduced By nelson

By Request of the Committee on Indian Affairs

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act Designating the Fourth Friday in September of Each Year as "American Indian Heritage Day" in the State of Montana; amending section

20-1-306, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date."

WHEREAS, Article X, section 1(2), of the Montana Constitution recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians and commits the state in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural integrity; and

WHEREAS, the 1975 Legislature enacted House Joint Resolution No. 57, designating the fourth Friday in September of each year as "Native American Indian Day"; and

WHEREAS, despite the resolution, the knowledge of this important history and culture is gradually being lost to citizens of the State of Montana, to the detriment of both the American Indian and non-Indian citizens of the State of Montana; and

WHEREAS, the history and culture of American Indians are an integral part of the history of the nation and the State of Montana; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that all Montanans have an invaluable opportunity for cultural enrichment through contact with the culture and philosophy of American Indians.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 20-1-306, MCA, is amended to read:

"20-1-306.   Commemorative exercises on certain days. (1) All districts shall conduct appropriate exercises during the school day on the following commemorative days:

(a)  Lincoln's Birthday (February 12);

(b)  Washington's Birthday (February 22);

(c)  Arbor Day (last Friday in April);

(d)  Flag Day (June 14);

(e)  Citizenship Day (September 17);

(f) American Indian Heritage Day (fourth Friday in September);

(f)(g)  Columbus Day (October 12);

(g)(h)  Pioneer Day (November 1);

(h)(i)  Other other days designated by the legislature or governor as legal holidays.

(2)  When these commemorative days fall on Saturday or Sunday, exercises may be conducted the preceding Friday."

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Notification of tribal governments. The secretary of state shall send a copy of [this act] to each tribal government located on the seven Montana reservations and to the Little Shell band of Chippewa.

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.