Jodi Rave: Series on Indian lawmakers in Montana
"When Sen. Sharon Stewart Peregoy, D-Crow Agency, stood among fellow members of the Montana Senate during swearing-in ceremonies, she spoke in her Crow language, breaking the state's English-only law.

Peregoy, a bilingual educator, said she invoked her "senatorial privileges" as Crow friends and family watched from the balcony in the Senate chambers. The state calls for all official state business to be conducted in English.

The Crow woman is one of nine members of the American Indian Caucus, one of the most representative Native contingents in the country with Native legislators at an even match with the state's 6 percent Indian population.

As a Native caucus member, she said the nine-member group would "stand in unison for anything brought forth by tribal leaders across the state."

The 61st session marks Peregoy's first term in the Montana Senate. While she didn't submit any bills for debate during the 90-day session, she will support colleagues' legislation. She said she also plans to speak up during legislative debates on bills that would affect Native people."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Peregoy has her eye on education (The Missoulian 1/26)

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