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Karla Bird named University of Montana Tribal Outreach Specialist



Missoula, Montana – Dr. Karla Bird has been appointed as the Office of the President’s tribal engagement expert at the University of Montana.

On January 3, 2023, Bird—a member of the Blackfeet Tribe (Amskapi Piikani Nation)—will start in her new position at UM.

“This role is vital for the University of Montana,” UM President Seth Bodnar said. “Dr. Bird comes to UM with a wealth of experience that will benefit all of us. I look forward to learning from and partnering with her as we continually work to ensure UM prioritizes excellence in Native American education.”

Bird, who most recently held the position of president of Blackfeet Community College, has a doctorate from the University of Michigan in educational leadership with a focus on higher education. Along with a B.A. in psychology with a research emphasis/minor in Native American studies, she also holds an M.A. in counselor education.

In addition to advising the campus community, Bird will represent UM in tribal communities in the area. She will also act as a resource and support for prospective and current Native students, according to a news release.

According to UM, Bird will build upon “the impressive contributions of a talented community of Native faculty and staff, elevate Indigenous scholarship and help sustain recent UM success in recruiting and retaining Native students.”

In 2018, on the advice of the presidents of Montana’s tribal colleges, Bodnar established the position of tribal outreach specialist. Bird will work in the President’s Office and be under the supervision of Chief of Staff Kelly Webster.

“The Griz community could not be more excited about Dr. Bird’s decision to join our team,” Webster said “She is a deeply respected expert across Montana, a national leader in tribal education, and a champion for higher education as an inclusive, transformative vehicle for all. The UM community will be better because of Dr. Bird’s partnership.”