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Missoula City Council Members Discuss Adding Salish to Signs on Columbus Day

Tribal sign
Photo courtesy of Travis S./Flickr

While many city and state employees were taking the day off for Columbus Day, some Missoula city council members were busy trying to improve the cultural relationship the city shares with the Salish-Kootenai tribe in St. Ignatius.

“For many, Columbus Day is not a day to celebrate, but a day to mourn the loss of native culture,” said Ward 1 councilman Dave Strohmaier. “A day like Columbus Day, on which many folks take the day off and do other things, we see as an opportunity to reach out to fellow residents, to fellow Montanans who may not have such a rosy feeling about Columbus’ arrival in North America.”

Many items were up for discussion, but Strohmaier said one of the topics was the possibility of adding some Salish language to Missoula signage.

“It wouldn’t be across the board,” Strohmaier said. “We’re mainly looking at some specific signs; maybe the entry points into Missoula – ‘Welcome to Missoula’ with the translation of Missoula into native Salish. Maybe some place names here in the community that hold some cultural significance.”

Strohmaeir said other place names like the Rattlesnake Valley were under consideration as well. The meeting is connected to the city of Missoula’s formal recognition of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes sovereignty late in 2012.

Dave Strohmaier:

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