Native Blackfoot youth seated in a circle play a large drum.

Piegan Institute

Browning, MT

Created by a group of visionary Blackfoot leaders, Piegan Institute aims to promote, preserve, research, and restore Native American languages. A core component of Piegan Institute’s multidimensional work is the Nizi Puh Wah Sin Blackfoot Language School Program, which offers culturally-rooted K-8 Blackfoot immersion language education, commonly known as Cuts Wood School. Nizi Puh Wah Sin, “real speak,” refers to the language of the people and to speaking the Blackfoot language well and poetically.

Now in their 23rd year of offering immersion language programming to the Blackfoot community in Browning, Montana, Piegan Institute continues to create new tribal speakers and future leaders who feel connected to the land, the community, and culture—the ultimate assessment of the institute’s strength, impact, and effectiveness.

“When we include our traditional ecological knowledge, our Native knowledge and our tribal languages in our curriculum development practices, when we merge it all together, we create very powerful results and outcomes for the children and adults within our tribal communities. Learning the Blackfoot language, our tribal protocols and our history has prepared students for an exciting and optimistic future as adults.”
—Darren Kipp, Executive Director, Piegan Institute