The Interaction of Montana Political Parties and American Indians through the Issue of Districting and Apportionment since 1992
Districting and Apportionment in Montana is a process unlike almost every state in the Union. Montana’s large size, small population, and growing American Indian population have lead to many intense Legislative and legal debates since the 1960’s. However, few sessions have matched the intense partisanship and racial tension of the Districting and Apportionment debates of 1992 and 2002. In the center of this partisanship is Montana’s American Indian population which was denied proportional representation until 2002, but because of Democratic Party control of the 2002 process, has gained an additional Indian-majority House district and two Senate districts to create proportional representation. The Republican opposition to this plan in almost every elected office of state was strong and has lead to charges of racism and gerrymandering on both sides. This thesis explores how the debate over Districting and Apportionment is indicative of relations between Montana Indians and Montana political parties and further explores the future of interaction in light of the past decade.