The Native Organizers Alliance (NOA), a network of grassroots Indian groups, is only as strong as its local affiliates. In Montana, we’re proud to have Indian People’s Action (IPA) in the NOA!
IPA has a long history of grassroots organizing in Montana with significant victories over the past two years on voting rights, health care, and addressing injustice in the judicial and prison systems.
Michaelynn Hawk, executive director of IPA said, “This year, IPA set the goal of expanding our leadership to include more young activists because in Indian Country, a large percentage of the population is below the age of 30 years old.”
The KTVQ.com website carried a news story on the July 24-26 youth training.
“The weekends are a time to kick back and relax for many people, but this Friday through Sunday, the Indian People’s Action convenes in Billings to work through serious issues.” And the article concluded with, “The organization aims to increase what it calls ‘the movement building capacity of Indian Country in Montana’.”
And that’s just what they did! Young people came from the Crow, Northern Cheyenne Reservations, as well as from Missoula. The participants engaged in in-depth sessions on environmental issues, criminal justice, health care and organizing Native-style. One of the participants said in the group evaluation, “I wish the training was longer.”
Lita Pepion, an IPA board member, said, “It is important to have events like this to continue our tradition of passing on knowledge from old to young (and vice versa),” She also said, “ Whatever we do today will impact the next seven generations and our work helps to assure future generations will have improved access to social, racial and economic justice as all people, regardless of ethnic background or any other identifier, should have.”
The IPA board of directors participated with great enthusiasm because they believe in the future work in Montana Indian Country. As one board member said, “We want them armed with the knowledge, skills, connections and ability to begin working toward social justice in whatever issue they are passionate about.”
Indian People’s Action is also an affiliate of the Alliance for a Just Society.