Montana
 
 
 
 
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Learn before you travel. This section of Fun Easy English focuses on facts and other cool stuff about your favorite U.S. state. This is great English reading practice. This page focuses on the state of Montana.
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Montana

Montana is known as "Big Sky Country". The members of the Lewis and Clark expedition were the first white explorers known to have set foot in Montana. It joined the United States in 1889 as the 41st state. The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montana, meaning "mountainous," although the eastern part of the state consists of gently rolling pastureland. The Anaconda Company had a stranglehold on the state's copper industry for about 100 years, but today Montana is known as a tourist destination for those drawn to its many trout streams and wide open spaces. Its capital is Helena and the state flower is the bitterroot.
Flag of MontanaMontana State Flag


The Montana flag displays a representation of the state seal on a field of deep blue. The legislation also describes "golden fringe along the upper and lower borders of the flag." Above the great seal is the word "Montana" in gold Helvetica Bold font (the letters are to equal 1/10 the vertical measurement of the flag).

The original banner was hand-made and carried by Montana volunteers in the Spanish-American war, but the design was not adopted as Montana's official state flag until 1904.

The state seal displays symbols of Montana's history and natural beauty. A sunrise shines over snowy mountains. Waterfalls, the Missouri River, mountains, hills, trees, and cliffs are shown behind three tools (a pick, a shovel, and a plow) which are symbols of Montana's mining and farming history. A ribbon with the state motto, Oro y Plata (Spanish for "gold and silver ") is displayed at the bottom of the seal.
Source: State Symbols USA
 
The great seal of the state of MontanaMontana State Facts

Picture: state seal of Montana
State Capital Helena
Nickname Treasure State
Motto Oro y Plata (Gold and Silver)
Statehood November 8,1889 (41st)
Origin of Name Based on Latin or Spanish word for "mountainous"
Largest Cities Billings, Great Falls, Butte, Missoula, Helena
Border States Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming
Area 145,556 sq. mi., 4th largest
State Bird Western Meadowlark
State Flower Bitterroot (lewisia rediviva)
State Tree Ponderosa pine (pinus ponderosa)
State Song Montana
Map showing the location of MontanaTravel and tourism site for Montana - This state travel and territorial tourism site provides ideas for your vacations, meetings, and more.
Montana Stories
 
The Metis Project: When They Awake

Rock and roll, hip-hop, jazz and Metis. You know about the first three styles of music, but have you ever heard of Metis music? All these styles have something in common -- they are influenced by other types of music. Metis music comes from a mixture of two cultures -- Native American rhythms and European tunes.

The Metis people are the descendants of European fur traders and Indian women who lived on the Plains in both the United States and Canada. Metis music tells a story. And people can dance to it. The fiddle is the major instrument used in Metis music. Other instruments include the harmonica, the hand drum, the mouth harp (harmonica), and finger instruments such as bones or spoons.

In Helena, Montana, a musical project explores the importance of Metis fiddle music. "When They Awake" is the name of the project, and it is based on a prediction by Canadian Louis Riel, a teacher, writer, leader and hero to the Metis people, who said, "My people will sleep for 100 years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back." It's possible that some of the artists he was thinking of were musicians.
 
Montana Is ...

Do you know why Montana is often called Big Sky Country? If you've ever been there, then you know that the sky seems so "big" because the state is sparsely populated and free of tall buildings. The sky goes on forever, uninterrupted by a lot of structures, like you see in many big cities.

"I love everything about Montana," cowboy poet Mike Logan says in his book Montana Is ..., "I still feel like I'm spending every day in heaven."

Logan loves Montana so much he published a book of his poetry and photographs of the state so he can share Montana's beauty with others. Logan moved to Montana in 1968, and in the following years he has spent many days in its wilds, photographing this "marvelous big-skied state." Logan has won national acclaim for his keen insight and spirit, and he has been the featured poet at cowboy poetry gatherings throughout the United States and Canada. His words and photographs have appeared in many books, magazines, and calendars. Logan's poems reflect his deepest vision of what "Montana is."

What does your state mean to you?
 
Glacier National Park, Montana

In 1910, Congress established Glacier National Park in Montana. Conservationist George Bird Grinnell played a key role in the creation of this park in order to preserve the land's natural beauty. Indians have always revered this region. The Blackfeet, Salish, and Kootenai Indians, who have lived in the area for hundreds of years, consider it a sacred place.

Glacier National Park is named for the glaciers that produced its landscape. A glacier is a moving mass of snow and ice. It forms when more snow falls each winter than melts in the summer. The snow accumulates and presses the layers below it into ice. The bottom layer of ice becomes flexible and therefore allows the glacier to move. As it moves, a glacier picks up rock and gravel. With this mixture of debris, it scours and sculptures the land it moves across. This is how, over thousands of years, Glacier National Park got all its valleys, sharp mountain peaks, and lakes. There are more than 50 glaciers in the park today, though they are smaller than the huge ones that existed 20,000 years ago.

In addition to its glaciers, mountains, and valleys, Glacier National Park covers approximately 1.4 million acres and includes 200 lakes and streams. The park is also home to many different types of wildlife, including black and grizzly bear, moose, golden and bald eagle, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, and whitetail and mule deer.
 
Native Reign

Do you know the story of the famous battle at Little Big Horn, Montana?

The United States wanted to build a road through Native American lands in Montana because gold had been discovered in the area of Little Big Horn. In 1876, General George Custer and his men were sent to make the Native Americans give up the land, even though the U.S. had guaranteed that it belonged to them. There was a battle and the Northern Cheyenne and other Native Americans defeated Custer. It was a crushing blow, and five months later, the U.S. attacked again. This time, the Cheyenne surrendered, and they were sent to a reservation in Oklahoma. Within two months of their arrival, two-thirds of the tribe became sick and many died. Chief Dull Knife and other Northern Cheyenne leaders pleaded for a reservation for their people back in Montana, but the U.S. refused them.

Chief Dull Knife was determined to return to Montana. In 1878, he and Little Wolf (another chief of the Northern Cheyenne) led what was left of their people and traveled more than 400 miles, managing to defeat or avoid the various Army units sent to bring them back to Oklahoma. They broke up into two groups -- one led by Dull Knife and the other by Little Wolf -- but both were eventually caught. Those led by Little Wolf were allowed to remain in Montana, but Dull Knife and his group were imprisoned. When they refused to return to Oklahoma, an attempt was made to starve them into obeying. They made a daring escape, in which many were killed and recaptured, but Dull Knife and others got away and made it to the safety of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Eventually a reservation was established for the Northern Cheyenne in Montana, where Dull Knife and his people were finally allowed to settle, rejoining Little Wolf's group. But sadly, by then, most of Dull Knife's people had died.

The Northern Cheyenne tell this story and other stories through their performing troupe Native Reign. The troupe combines traditional Native American dances with contemporary music to celebrate the history and traditions of the tribe.
 
Montana Horse Story

You have probably heard of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. But do you know about the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum?

If you are from Montana, you probably do. Many Montanans are remembered in these two museums because the horse has played an important part in the state's history, economy, and romantic image. Most of the state is rangeland used in the livestock-ranching industry for the production of beef cattle and sheep. Horses are used to round up the cattle and sheep, so horse riding is a very important skill to have if you live there.

Cowboys and cowgirls show off their riding skills at the many rodeos held each year across the state. Several cowgirls from Montana have been inducted (admitted as members) into the National Cowgirl Museum, including cowgirl-photographer Barbara Van Cleve. She is a nationally recognized artist who splits her time between her family ranch, the Lazy K Bar, near Melville, Montana, and her photographic studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Another Montanan, Dan Mortensen, was inducted into the Cowboy Museum in 1997. Mortensen is 1997 World All-Around Champion and 1993-1995, 1997 and 1998 World Saddle Bronc Riding Champion in the "Rodeo" category.
 
Libby High School: Documenting Local History

What makes your city or town like no other? During the summer of 1999, a group of teenagers from Libby High School formed a team to tell the world why Libby, Montana, is unique. Some of the students were interested in photography and some in history, but each student documented his or her own view of life in Libby. Several teachers at the high school worked with their students on the project.

The students covered several local events in their project, including Logger Days, a four-day festival held in early July, and Nordicfest, an annual three-day event celebrating the town's Swedish heritage. Logger Days celebrate Libby's historic timber industry with food, parades, and crafts. Highlights of the celebration include logging competitions such as a "Lumberjack Relay" race and sawing and ax-throwing events.

Nordicfest remembers the early 1900s in Libby, when a lumber mill was established and Scandinavian loggers came from Minnesota. The celebration, which started in 1985, features craft and quilt shows, a parade and Fjord horse show and food like Swedish meatballs and "Vikings on a stick."
 
History of Farming and Ranching: A Study of the Local Culture by St. Ignatius High School

There is a problem in Mission Valley, Montana. It's losing its farmers. Dairy farming, potato and grain farming, cattle ranching, horse ranching and hog raising are still occurring in Mission Valley, but there are fewer farms and ranches of 100 to 1,000 acres. The big farms are being divided into smaller 10- to 40-acre "ranchettes" that are being sold to people from cities of nearby states. They come to escape the noise and traffic of city life but have no roots in the local traditions. The longtime local farmers and ranchers are worried that the newcomers will make it more difficult to preserve the area's native culture and traditions.

Five students from St. Ignatius High School helped the farmers. The students collected stories, historical documents, art and geological information about the farms, ranches and culture of Mission Valley. They also recorded "oral histories" -- stories told by the citizens. The students' teacher used the materials they had collected in history class. Teachers refer to materials such as these as "primary sources," because they tell a story you won't find in a book. Not only have the students learned about their local heritage, but also the farmers and ranchers have found a way to pass on the traditions that are important to them.
Source: Library of Congress
National Forests, Parks, and Monuments of Montana

The following is a description of national forests, parks, and monuments in the state of Montana. If you plan to visit or live in Montana for awhile then you should definitely plan to visit some of these fantastic places.
 
National Forests
Beaverhead-Deerlodge

The largest National Forest in Montana, it encompasses several mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains. The forest includes the Anaconda-Pintler and Lee Metcalf wilderness areas and sections of the Continental Divide Trail and Nez Perce National Historic Trail.
Bitterroot

Bitterroot National Forest is located in the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains, reaching its highest point at 10,157 ft (3,096 m) at Trapper Peak. The forest is named for the bitterroot plant. This national forest is also partially located in the state of Idaho.
Custer

Custer National Forest includes the Beartooth Highway and the Capitol Rock and the Castles National Natural Landmarks. The forest's Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness includes Granite Peak, the highest point in Montana at 12,807 ft (3,904 m). This national forest is also partially located in the state of South Dakota.
Flathead

Bordering Glacier National Park, Flathead is home to grizzly bears, bull trout, and Canada lynx. The forest manages four wilderness areas, including the Bob Marshall and Great Bear wildernesses.
Gallatin

Bordering the north side of Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin National Forest contains parts of both the Absaroka-Beartooth and Lee Metcalf wilderness areas. Quake Lake was formed on the Madison River when an earthquake launched a landslide across the river in 1959.
Helena

The Continental Divide Trail travels almost 80 mi (130 km) through the forest, which surrounds Montana's capital city. The Elkhorn Mountains are the only Wildlife Management unit in the National Forest System.
Idaho Panhandle

There are two wilderness areas, Cabinet Mountains and Salmo-Priest, and numerous recreation opportunities in Idaho Panhandle National Forest. This forest ranges from the Canada–US border to the Saint Joe River, which is the highest navigable river in the world. This national forest is also partially located in the states of Idaho and Washington.
Kootenai

Kootenai includes the Cabinet Mountains and the Kootenai and Clark Fork rivers. The Noxon and Cabinet Gorge reservoirs are on the Clark Fork within the forest. The Northwest Peak Scenic Area is in the Selkirk Mountains. This national forest is also partially located in the state of Idaho.
Lewis and Clark

Located in north-central Montana, this forest includes seven mountain ranges and large portions of the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat wilderness areas. The forest operates the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls.
Lolo

Located west of the Continental Divide and containing parts of four wilderness areas, this forest has 700 mi (1,100 km) of trails and over 100 named lakes. There are at least 20 fish species, 60 mammals, 300 birds, and 1,500 plants in the forest.
 
National Parks
Glacier

The U.S. half of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, this park includes 26 glaciers and 130 named lakes surrounded by Rocky Mountain peaks. There are historic hotels and a landmark road called the Going-to-the-Sun Road in this region of rapidly receding glaciers.[46] The local mountains, formed by an overthrust, expose Paleozoic fossils including trilobites, mollusks, giant ferns and dinosaurs.
Yellowstone

Situated on the Yellowstone Caldera, the park has an expansive network of geothermal areas including boiling mud pots, vividly colored hot springs such as Grand Prismatic Spring, and regularly erupting geysers, the best-known being Old Faithful. The yellow-hued Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River contains several high waterfalls, and four mountain ranges traverse the park. More than 60 mammal species including gray wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, lynxes, bison, and elk, make this park one of the best wildlife viewing spots in the country. This national park is also partially located in the states of Idaho and Wyoming.
 
National Monuments
Little Bighorn Battlefield

This monument includes the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn between George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and a combined Lakota-Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho force, Custer National Cemetery, and the Reno-Benteen Battlefield.
Pompeys Pillar

Pompeys Pillar is a 150-foot (46 m) sandstone pillar from the late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation next to the Yellowstone River. It has an abundance of Native American petroglyphs, as well as the signature of William Clark, who named the formation after Sacagawea's infant son.
Upper Missouri River Breaks

A series of badland areas characterized by rock outcroppings, steep bluffs and grassy plains along the 149-mile (240 km) Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River in central Montana, The Breaks is home to at least 60 mammal species and hundreds of bird species. Charles Marion Russell often painted here, and Lewis and Clark traveled on this pathway.
 
Travel America
Glacier National Park
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening and reading practice.
This video is all about Glacier National Park.
Cool America
About the U.S.A.

About the U.S.A. is an American Studies reader that examines the customs, government, and history of the United States of America. The text provides a wealth of information on U.S. geography and history; the roles of local, state, and federal government; national holidays and symbols; the Constitution; and citizenship. The book, which was written for intermediate to advanced learners of English, contains a range of activities for language students to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing. (opens to a new PDF window) Great English reading practice.
About America

Learn about the fascinating history and government of the United States of America. Lessons include content on American Government, American History, and Integrated Civics. Handouts with interactive games and student-centered activities encompass all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Great English reading practice for beginning to intermediate students.
American Teens Talk!

Americans Teens Talk! is a collection of interviews of American high school students. Each interview is accompanied by vocabulary notes and discussion questions. The interviews in American Teens Talk! give learners a view into the lives of adolescents in the U.S. Through the written format of the interviews, learners are able to increase their vocabulary, practice their reading and listening skills, engage in discussions, and learn more about U.S. culture. These interviews come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading
Sing Out Loud Children's Songs

Sing Out Loud Children's Songs includes popular children's songs in the U.S.A. Posters accompany the individual Sing Out Loud Children's Songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs

The Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs collection contains 13 traditional American folk songs and song lyrics. Listen to the songs online, read the lyrics, and collect the posters that accompany the songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud American Rhythms

Do you love music? Want to use it to learn English? Check out the hip-hop inspired song "Peace" from Sing Out Loud American Rhythms. American Rhythms includes a variety of musical genres from many different artists in the U.S.A. These songs will appeal to teens and young adults. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Route 66 - Famous American Road

U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California, near Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.
Route 66: The Highway That's the Best
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Chicago: The Start of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Going West for Decades on Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Arizona: The Spirit of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Route 66 California: The End of the Trail
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Ten Must-See Route 66 Attractions
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Four Famous Foods On Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
International Tourists Drawn to Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
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