Native Village Youth and Education News
October, 2009


"The Rez We Live On" Debunks Myths About Native Americans
By Andi Murphy

Condensed by Native Village

Montana: The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on the Flathead Reservation have created "The Rez We Live On," a new website that plays "myth busters" regarding Native American issues.

The Rez We Live On's home page has Jib Jab-like characters who represent the racial variety of western Montana. Each character introduces a myth regarding Native Americans. Then a short animated video talks more in depth about an issue and helps us better understand the real truth.

Some concepts The Rez We Live On addresses are that Natives get [don't get] free college education and health care, non-Natives can't [can] be arrested by Native police and per capita payments come [don't come] from taxpayers' dollars.

"We got some great, great response from this," said Robert McDonald, tribal communications director. "So far so good."

McDonalds' inspiration for The Rez We Live On  was triggered by a University of Montana student.  Marli Harmon, 19, is a non-Native originally from Polson, Mont., on the Flathead Reservation.  She
approached the tribe with questions for one of her classes.

"I grew up 15 years there, and I didn't know much," Marli said.

Marli is pleased with the Salish and Kootenai's The Rez We Live On. She says it is a neat, user-friendly and approachable way to tell others that this is what the tribe really is. "I like it," Harmon said. "It presents the material in a fresh way."

So far, the site is doing well. It has received good comments and emails from viewers. It is even endorsed by Denise Juneau, Montana State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

"If you improve the education around you, it helps to build a better relationship if you understand who Indian people are"  said James Steele Jr., chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes."

He hopes other tribes get out their stories and educate the public about Native American government and people.

"It's a positive thing for all tribes," Steele said.

The Rez We live on:
Fun website that Debunks Myths about Native Americans.

[Editor's note: Works with Adobe 10, which you may download here:]

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