California tribe donates $20,000 for Montana high school

Browning, Montana (AP) 10-09

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in California has donated $20,000 to help Browning High School in northwest Montana complete work on a gym.

Officials at the school on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation say the money will be used to buy and build bleachers for the mezzanine area of the gym.

The tribe is continuing to raise money for bleachers and a visitor’s locker room. Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Chairman Willie Sharp said it’s the single largest donation the new high school has received.

“We are very appreciative of this very generous donation,” Sharp said. “As an educator in this district for over 30 years, I personally know how much a gift like this will benefit our children and serve the needs of the general student population.”


The Chumash own and operate the Chumash Casino Resort on the Santa Ynez Reservation in Santa Barbara County, and since 1997 has used gaming revenues to make $12 million in charitable donations.

“I think that it’s wonderful,” Browning schools Superintendent Mary Johnson said of the donation. “It shows that we have a good relationship with other tribes. It shows that other tribes understand our situation.”

The new school was dedicated in August. It will be able to handle more than 700 students, and has floor tiles patterned in traditional symbols and views of the Rocky Mountain Front.

A few classrooms also have views of sacred Blackfeet landmark Chief Mountain.

The school replaces the old high school that was built in the 1950s and was designed for 300 students but had been serving about 600 in recent years. The new gym will be able to hold 3,500 fans, up from 2,000 at the old school.