The Lolo Community Council sent out the following announcement on Tuesday.

Lolo MMIP Proclamation 11 February 2020

 Lolo has a significant importance in the history of this land.

The first people to use this land found the abundance of game, berries and other ample food supplies. The indigenous people that were first here used Lolo Pass as a safe passageway for migration, hunting, fishing and trading between tribes. According to ancient legend, a young native boy was lost in the mountains and was encountered by a grizzly bear. Impressed by the boy’s bravery, the bear put him on his back and took him to the mountain tops. The bear showed the boy where to find berries, fish, game and he showed the boy Lolo Pass. He also showed the boy where to find shelter. The bear took the boy back to his people and told him to share with them what he had learned.

There has been a human presence in Lolo ever since.

In our modern day Lolo, we too find value and shelter in this land, just as the indigenous people of an earlier time did. There are inherent dangers still to this day, some seen and some unseen.

Today we recognize an epidemic and a crisis known as Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.

In honor and the memory of the ancestors, the families, the solitude and the peace of the indigenous people, we in Lolo stand with other communities that have gone before by proclaiming the February 14th to be recognized and observed as MMIP Day, and ask that all local governments, cities, counties and states recognize the same.

From this time forward Lolo Community Council declares that February 14th be known and recognized as MMIP day and would ask the Board of County Commissioners to extend this to all of Missoula County.

Kevin Noland Lolo Community Council Chairman

 KGVO News spoke with Noland about the proclamation on Thursday, February 13.

“The biggest thing is to be aware that there’s an issue, that there’s a crisis for the indigenous, the native peoples that were here first,” said Noland. “Our land is linked to their heritage and history. I’m not a tribal member but some of my friends and family certainly are. But, what’s needed is a heightened awareness. The biggest thing is if you see something, say something. Be aware of your surroundings and be aware of your neighbors, you family and friends. Pay attention that if something doesn’t look right then it might not be.”

Noland asked all residents of the area to be aware of dangers, especially to indigenous peoples.

“As communities grow closer together and speaking with one another we realize that we’re friends and family,” he said. “As Montanans especially, we’re just one big group of friends.”

County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier told KGVO News there wasn't sufficient advance notice to make an official county proclamation, but said there will be a special ceremony in the Sophie Moiese Room in the County Courthouse on Wednesday, February 19 at 2:00 p.m. for a flag and artwork dedication to honor the Salish and Kootenai Tribes as well as present artwork by Jaune Quick-To-See Smith.

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