2004 — student award of excellence
Missoula, Montana native Lisa Hornstein [b. 1982] was interested with
photography at an early age before pursuing a degree in photojournalism
from the University of Montana where she graduated at the top of her
photography class in 2004.
While in college, Lisa was a staff photographer and photo editor for the school newspaper and freelanced for the Missoulian, a daily newspaper in Missoula.
After graduation she was a summer fellow at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida before being selected to study photography for a semester through Syracuse University’s study abroad program in London.
After returning to Montana in January 2005, she freelanced for the Associated Press and was then hired as a staff photographer for The Montana Standard daily newspaper in Butte, Montana. In the spring of 2008 Lisa was hired on as the sports photographer for The Independent Record newspaper in Helena, Montana where she worked for two years. Currently she is a freelance photographer and a new mother.
Lisa’s work has been recognized by the Alexia Foundation, College Photographer of the Year Awards, Photo District News, The Hearst Foundation, The Montana Newspaper Association and the National Press Photographers Association. Her photos have appeared in numerous publications including Sports Illustrated, Country Woman Magazine and Time Magazine. She lives in Helena with her husband J.D. Kunkel and their daughter Adeline Grace.
Diversity is something not overlooked in today's world. When walking down the street it is not uncommon to see people of a different skin tone than you. The melding of cultures in America began the moment the first settlers came to this country - a unique culture that is still preserved today is Native Americans.
Within the seven Indian Reservations spread across Montana, there is one ambition that each shares: the desire to be free from outside interference and have the right to self-govern. Sovereignty. The goal is to have supreme authority in each reservation, making them a politically independent state. Yet this goal is not as easy as it seems since the government determined they can be a "sovereign" nation but cannot do what Congress forbids.
The concept of sovereignty was first recognized when the United States government began making treaties with the Native Americans that lived in the territory. The law defined the legal concept of Indian sovereignty in 1831. Sovereignty affects tribal members' lives day in and day out.
This ambition for sovereignty is seen more in terms of education and economics for the Montana reservations. Going back to their old roots. The end goal may be for each reservation to become one again and reclaim more traditional ways of living. Some other topics related directly to sovereignty among the Indian reservations of Montana include: water rights, control of tribal lands, courts, authority, health care, welfare and gambling, just to name a few.
The Native Americans of Montana are unique in their culture, something that is often overlooked. A state that is so rich with a unique society that draws ancestors back for decades is something that interests me. I have lived in Montana my whole life and this semester I want to explore this idea of sovereignty within the Native populations of Montana.
I am going to focus specifically on the Fort Belknap reservation located in the northeastern part of Montana, and tell their story through photographs of distinctive culture and their desire for sovereignty within the borders of Montana. After shooting this photo story I will be able to share this with other people to help them understand the deep culture of Native Americans in our Montana.
The photos will be published in a special report by the University of Montana School of Journalism and distributed in three state newspapers. I am one part of fourteen journalists seeking to tell the story of Montana's Indians through stories and photographs. It is called the Native News Honors Project and is in its 12th year at the University of Montana. The goal is to broaden culture understanding of the seven reservations through a 36-page newspaper style tab. The fourteen students are paired up and sent to cover an issue within the seven reservations. This year's topic is, sovereignty.
Financial support for this project comes from a few willing donors. Even then, being able to adequately cover the large expanse of Montana can be difficult. If given this grant from the Alexia Foundation I would happily give my share back to the School of Journalism for future classes to be able to use to produce their stories.