Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 5. Special Purpose Funds

Montana Indian Language Preservation Program

20-9-537. Montana Indian language preservation program. (1) There is a Montana Indian language preservation program. The program is established to support efforts of Montana tribes and partnering school districts to preserve and perpetuate Indian languages in the form of spoken, written, sung, or signed language and to help meet the state's educational goal of preserving the cultural integrity of American Indians under Article X, section 1(2), of the Montana constitution.

(2) (a) The office of public instruction shall administer the program and, in collaboration with each tribal government of a federally recognized Indian tribe in Montana, shall create program guidelines.

(b) The program guidelines must:

(i) describe the roles of tribal governments, of tribal education, culture, or language departments or other recognized Indian education resource specialists, and of partnering school districts;

(ii) include definitions of language fluency in sufficient detail to allow measurement of progress toward Indian language preservation; and

(iii) address performance and output standards, distribution of funds, accounting of funds, and use of funds.

(3) (a) The office of public instruction shall equally distribute funds to tribal governments in a manner described in the program guidelines. A tribal government wishing to participate in the program shall submit an application to the office of public instruction that includes at a minimum:

(i) statements of commitment from school districts with which the tribal government will partner through the program;

(ii) a designation of a tribal entity to administer the program. The designation must be to the tribal education department or equivalent or, if the tribe does not have an education department, to another entity such as a tribal culture or language department or equivalent.

(iii) a description of the role of American Indian language and culture specialists in the program, including the number of specialists currently employed by partnering districts;

(iv) a detailed description of proposed curriculum development, instruction, and professional development activities, including the role of American Indian language and culture specialists;

(v) a description of how proposed activities support the tribal government's long-term strategy for Indian language preservation, including:

(A) an estimate of the current number of fluent speakers; and

(B) plans to build multigenerational fluency through:

(I) partnerships with early learning providers; and

(II) adult education offerings; and

(vi) a proposed budget for the expenditure of funds received under the program and any other anticipated funding sources.

(b) Tribal governments and partnering school districts shall report annually to the office of public instruction in a format prescribed in the program guidelines. A tribal government failing to meet the reporting requirements may not receive program funds until reporting requirements have been met.

(c) The office of public instruction shall report to the legislature, to the education interim committee, and to the state-tribal relations committee in accordance with 5-11-210. The report must include:

(i) current program guidelines as required in subsection (2);

(ii) a summary of each participating tribal government's activities under the program; and

(iii) metrics that indicate how well activities funded under this program are promoting language fluency.

(4) Any cultural and intellectual property rights from program efforts belong to the tribe. Use of the cultural and intellectual property may be negotiated between the tribe and other partnering entities.

(5) A tribe may use payments received pursuant to this section as matching funds for federal or private fund sources to accomplish the purposes of this section.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 410, L. 2013; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 426, L. 2015; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 232, L. 2017; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 240, L. 2021; amd. Sec. 56, Ch. 261, L. 2021; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 562, L. 2021; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 571, L. 2023.