Adrian Jawort

Recent Posts

Native American lecture series moving to Missoula


About two years ago, I gave a talk at the Pictograph Caves just outside Billings. Inspired by the Native American pictographs that are the main feature of the site, I focused on a subject that had become something of an obsession since I returned to Montana 10 years ago, which is the treatment of the Native Americans in our state. I grew up in Montana, but I had been gone for 25 years when I returned. I moved from San Francisco, and I was stunned to find that people still talked very openly about Native Americans as if they are all lazy, drunk and a drain on our economy. (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘All of Montana is a border town,’ civil rights panel told


A civil rights panel conducted a hearing in Billings for nearly eight hours Monday on the subject of discrimination against Native Americans, and it heard nothing more vivid than the testimony of Sarah Beaumont. For 20 minutes, punctuated by fits of sobbing, Beaumont told of working for a major company in a good union job in Billings, and of having to endure, on an almost daily basis, hateful, hurtful remarks about Native Americans. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Reasons for hope at Native American lecture series


“When I started telling people in Amherst that I was Native American, their most common response was ‘Wow, that’s really cool!’”

This was one of the more striking statements made by Caleb Williams, who was the speaker at the most recent Native American Race Relations and Healing Lecture Series. And the striking thing about it was the expression on his face when he said it. It was clearly not the reaction he is accustomed to getting when he talks about his heritage. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Joseph Medicine Crow, last of the war chiefs, dies at 102

Medicine Crow

Joseph Medicine Crow, the great Crow Indian historian, author and war hero, often called the last living Plains Indian war chief, reportedly died this morning at the age of 102. His death was reported on the Facebook page of Ben Pease, the artist whose portrait of Medicine Crow is above. In a private message, Pease said Medicine Crow “passed to the ‘Other Side Camp’ Sunday morning.” Among his many honors, Medicine Crow was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honor—by President Obama in 2009. In Billings, the District 2 School Board voted last year to name a new middle school in the Heights—the first public school built in Billings in 30-some years—after Medicine Crow. Continue Reading →

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Indian and white: Listening and other simple virtues


Nobody said it was going to be easy. Billings authors Adrian Jawort and Russell Rowland took on a complex, divisive and longstanding problem when they started the Native American Race Relations and Healing Consortium last year. Their inaugural event, an all-day symposium featuring three different panel discussions, attracted nearly 75 people to the Billings Public Library in August. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Symposium planned as a ‘movement toward healing’


Editor’s note: Russell Rowland helped organize the Native American Race Relations and Healing Symposium, a daylong series of panel discussions scheduled for Aug. 22 at the Billings Public Library. A companion piece by co-organizer Adrian Jawort, is published above this one. Click here to see it.  (more…) Continue Reading →

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The death of Hanna Harris: Hope through heartbreak


In a novella I wrote, “Where Custer Last Slept”—the title referring to the town of Busby on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation where Custer camped before his last infamous day on the Little Bighorn—I detailed the gruesome murders of a couple of teens whose killer is not brought to justice, prompting a group of friends to take matters into their own hands. That story is part of “Off the Path,” a Montana-based anthology of American Indian writers. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Bleeding the same red blood


Lay of the Land: A series of essays on the spirit of Montana
On Oct. 23, acclaimed American Indian author Sherman Alexie came to a packed Rocky Mountain College Fortin Center gymnasium and gave what was reported to be a hilariously entertaining speech that had the crowd laughing until their stomachs hurt. I had written several in-depth articles about the controversy his young-adult book, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” had caused in School District 2 last year at this time. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Another look at ‘Off the Path’ anthology


Don’t miss Craig Lancaster’s interview with Adrian Jawort, who edited and published “Off the Path: An Anthology of 21st Century Montana American Indian Writers, Vol. 1.” We wrote about the book in February, but Lancaster’s interview has a lot of new information, including Jawort’s plans for upcoming anthologies and his own novel. Excerpt: “A lot of people open the book perhaps expecting something typical and almost clichéd and formulaic about Native Americans, but this is very edgy and atypical. We do touch on plaguing real issues like suicide, abuse , alcoholism, and poverty that Natives out west deal with on a seemingly extreme level and a lot of it is biographical, but it’s still very original fiction. Off the Path has basically created a life force of its own and a lot of that stemmed from positive reactions to it.” Continue Reading →

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Anthology presents native visions, voices

Adrian Jawort

For a couple of years, Adrian Jawort had been thinking about what he could do to promote contemporary Native American fiction writers. He is a Northern Cheyenne who grew up in Lockwood and Billings, a successful freelance journalist who has been interested in writing fiction since he was a young boy. He knew there was hardly any market for native writers. (more…) Continue Reading →

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