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Jeffrey Tiberi, WorldMontana® Board Member

Visiting Montana in February means you are crazy about skiing. Of our more than 12 million visitors each year, the vast majority arrive in the warmer months to hike and camp and fish and enjoy our special history and grand scenery. But February of 2018 was different. WorldMontana® hosted an ethnic minorities delegation from Russia. Most lived in the northern portion of what is known as a northern country. They felt right at home with our single digit temperatures, our snow packed and icy roads, and our layers upon layers of winter clothing. I was the van driver. I got stuck in the snow only three times. The delegates pushed me out twice.

Montana is home to 40% of America’s Native Americans. They were the focus of the visit. Specifically, what are Tribes in Montana doing to assure their cultures remain alive and can be passed on to future generations? What ideas can the delegates take home with them? We had the opportunity to visit a number of Tribes to learn about steps they are taking and ways they are paving to protect their cultures. My impression was that the delegates left Montana with a slew of ideas.

As part of the visit, we were fortunate to tour Yellowstone National Park, and extra lucky to get quite close to bison. As we traveled the snow packed and icy roads to the park, with a keen focus on staying on the highway, Sasha and I talked much about these large creatures, including snippets about the cultural significance that Tribes place on buffalo.

The delegates were impressed with the size and beauty of these beasts, but the real importance of our national animal came into focus during each of the individual meetings with the different Tribes. The role of bison and culture are close and intertwined, as we heard at each stop.

Some say that nature is the main player on Earth. I cannot disagree. However, culture, for me, runs at equal speed. The world is getting smaller and smaller. Advancements in commerce and transportation and media push us towards similarities. We are more and more interconnected, and closer and closer to uniformity. Preserving and nurturing the rich varieties of human cultures on Earth will help keep our lives interesting and exciting.

Join us at WorldMontana® to help connect humanity. Annual memberships are more than welcome, and help support our efforts.

Jeffrey Tiberi, WorldMontana® Board Member

During the first week of March, six to tour the capital and meet with Governor Steve Bullock and the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. During their visit, they sat down with members of the Montana Legislature and attended a variety of legislative committee meetings. During a visit to Carroll College, the Kyrgyzstani legislators met with faculty and students in the Political Science department. Additionally, they visited Fort Harrison and took tours of Montana ranches, including a bison reserve and the Rockin Z Guest Ranch.

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