Native Blackfoot youth seated in a circle play a large drum.
Courtesy of Piegan Institute

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 (established in 1992), 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.

Through Cuts Wood School, Piegan Institute is creating new speakers and future leaders in the Blackfoot community of Browning, Montana, who feel connected to their culture, community, and traditional territory—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