Alex was born to Filipino immigrant parents just outside Detroit. He read a poem that inspired him to become a featherweight boxer in Mexico and later to become a Zen Buddhist seminary student for almost ten years at a small temple in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
He left Michigan to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing in Poetry at the University of Montana. While there, the residents of Troy, Montana named him 2002’s Poetry Slam Champion of Montana, and he very quickly found himself a wife, a mortgage, two kids, two cats, and a dog.
In order to pay for all that, he joined forces with the Missoula Writing Collaborative as a Poet in Residence in 2004 and has served various schools on the Flathead Indian Reservation and Missoula. He also has served for almost a decade as full time faculty at Salish Kootenai College where he was given the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award for the founding of Ten Sticks Lacrosse, the premier youth lacrosse program of the Flathead Indian Reservation.
When not teaching or tending to his kids, Alex launches small experiments that attempt to bring together his interests in art, entrepreneurship, and education. Currently, he is working on a graphic novel, and he is training as a Graphic Facilitator to help educators and businesses clarify their communications through hand drawn images.
Dr. Belcourt (Otter Woman) is an American Indian Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Montana’s Pharmacy Practice and School of Public and Community Health Sciences Departments (enrolled tribal member of the Three Affiliated Tribes: affiliation Blackfeet, Chippewa, Mandan & Hidatsa). Raised on the Blackfeet reservation, she is an alumnus of Browning High School and the University of Montana. Her doctorate is in clinical psychology. Research and clinical priorities include mental health disparities, environmenal health, trauma, posttraumatic stress reactions, risk, resiliency, psychiatric disorder, and public health intervention within the cultural context of American Indian communities. Dr. Belcourt has conducted grant-funded collaborative research projects with Native communities at UM and during work at the University of Colorado Denver’s Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health. Publications have appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Psychological Bulletin, American Psychologist, Educational and Psychological Measurement, and Transcultural Psychiatry.
Aaron is a member of the Apsaalooke Nation, Big Lodge Clan and child of the Whistling Water Clan; he is also a member of the Night Hawk Dance Society. He was born in Sheridan, Wyoming and raised on the Crow Reservation’s Center Lodge District and is also a 2001 graduate of Hardin High School. His Crow Indian name is Baatchiokuushdeesh “Goes to the Middle of War” which was given to him by his maternal grandfather Benjamin Bigman Sr.
In 2008 he married Misty Running Wolf in Missoula, Montana, and together they have 3 children: Ivory Blais, Luke Judah & Matia Dee Dee. They have made a home in Arlee Montana, where they have 3 horses, 2 dogs and 2 cats.
Aaron is a 2011 graduate of Salish Kootenai College where he received his Associate of Arts degree in Native American Studies. Aaron then went on to the University of Montana, Missoula, where he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Native American Studies & Anthropology in 2013. Aaron continued with his education at the University of Montana Graduate School to further his education in Anthropology. He will graduate in May of 2015.
Over the past few years Aaron has dedicated his academics and work to Archeology of the Montana Tribes mainly of his own people the Apsaalooke. He worked for Bureau of Land Management and headed up a few different projects, such as protecting “fasting bed” sites along the Dry Head Over Look in the Pryor Mountains.
Laine is a senior at Arlee High School. He plans on attending the University of Montana and majoring in English. Most of his time out of school is spent with his parents, siblings and grandparents. He admires and respects his elders and loves to visit and hear stories with his grandparents. Creative writing, in the field of fiction, is his passion. However, time in the mountains, whether hiking or camping, is spiritually important to him. He is well known to family and friends as a kind hearted and generous soul.
Originally from Arlee, Montana, Karissa has been at the University of Montana for over ten years, first earning an undergraduate degree in 2007 in Elementary Education with a minor in Japanese. Seven years ago she was hired at the University and now serves as the Associate Director for New Student & Family Programs in the Admissions Office. Karissa finished her Masters in Education in 2009 and currently teaches a Leadership Seminar at UM.
A senior at Arlee High School, Zach has attended Arlee Public Schools since the first day of Kindergarten. He has the honor of being the Valedictorian for the Class of 2015 and has gained numerous school, local, state, and even national awards and accolades in his time at Arlee High School. He has been involved in many activities such as sports, clubs, and community events. His plan after high school is to attend Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, to pursue an engineering degree.
PJ is a senior at Arlee High School. He has participated in basketball, football and track. His plans are to attend the University of Montana and major in sport science.
Parker is a senior attending Arlee High School. He plans to one day become a novelist and teacher. He also misses having a snake.
The brother and spiritual heir of Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, the founder of The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, Namchak Khenpo was born in Eastern Tibet in 1965. As a young monk, Khenpo studied all aspects of Buddhism, including ritual arts and chanting. Khenpo traveled to Mysore, India where he had the good fortune to meet His Holiness, Penor Rinpoche and begin studying at His Holiness’s Nyingma College, Namdrol Ling Shedra. He graduated after nine years as a Do-Ngag Rabjampa, Master of Sutra and Tantra, the highest academic degree. He spends his time in Nepal and as resident Abbot at Ewam Sang-ngag Ling in Arlee, MT.
Jeff was born and raised a Blue Pony, became a Northern Light, then a Grizzly, and currently is a Warrior. He has been married to a Scottie for almost 20 years; we raised one Warrior and are raising two Scarlets.
Jeff has a Bachelors Degree in Zoology and in 1997 became a Fish Culturist at the Jocko River Trout Hatchery. He is a fourth generation Montanan of hardy Norwegian and German stocks who dared settle and break ground along the Hi-Line. His most important job is to raise the next generation of self sufficient, proud Montanans.
Amelia is a senior at Arlee High School, and has participated in sports and various extracurricular activities. She spends her free time enjoying the outdoors and playing sports. She works hard in school, and is planning to attend MSU Bozeman in the fall in hopes of becoming a nurse.
Violet is a senior attending Arlee High School. She has participated in numerous activities and clubs such as Student Council. She enjoys playing sports as well as the outdoors. Her plan after high school is to attend Eastern Washington University in the fall.
Brandi graduated from the University of Montana in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Psychology, and from the University of Montana School of Law in 2007. Starting in 2007, Brandi worked as the Staff Attorney for the DOVES Legal Assistance for Victims Program in Polson, providing direct civil legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in district courts in the state of Montana, Montana Supreme Court, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe tribal court. Brandi served as the DOVES Legal Program (now known as the SAFE Harbor Legal Program) Supervising Attorney starting in 2011 and continuing to date. In 2013, Brandi, along with her law partner, Amy Rubin, formed the Rubin and Ries Law Offices, PLLC, in Missoula. Rubin and Ries Law Offices focuses on providing civil legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Brandi recently co-authored Understanding Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence is All Over the News Lately, but are We Talking About it in the Right Way? and Domestic Violence and Family Law: Sometimes it’s the Cases that Nobody Wants that can have the Greatest Impact. Brandi was named the 2014 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Missoula Family Violence Council.
Riley is a senior at Arlee High School and has been involved in basketball and football as well as student council. His interests are being outdoors, playing sports, and hanging out with friends. He plans on attending the University of Montana pursuing a degree in sports medicine.
Kiana is a senior at Arlee High School. She likes to read, and listen to poetry. She plans to attend the University of Montana in the fall to become a radiology technician.