Shelby Jo Long-Hammond, associate professor of communication studies, director of forensics, 406.657.1054,
RMC Media Team, 406.657.1105,

Rocky debate team participates in tribal college debate

BILLINGS, November 18, 2014 – RMC’s debate team is traveling to Crow Agency and Lame Deer, Mont., to participate in the Tribal College Debate Program. During November 10-20, 2014, RMC students will conduct workshops and mentoring sessions in classes at Little Big Horn College and Chief Dull Knife College.  

This program is part of the Tribal College Debate Grant, which was awarded to RMC Associate Professor of Communication Studies Shelby Jo Long-Hammond in April 2013. Long-Hammond received the $34,000 grant to launch a pilot debate program, which began on three tribal campuses, including Little Big Horn College, Chief Dull Knife College, and other tribal colleges.

Long-Hammond's hope is that this program will help provide debate education and professional speaking at these tribal colleges, as they have a stake in many important social, political, and environmental issues. There are a number of political debates currently affecting Native American reservations in Montana, including coal and coal-bed-methane mining, the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline, subsidies for agriculture, and many other environmental policies.

Long-Hammond believes that a debate network in these tribal schools will help provide an opportunity for college students to develop essential critical thinking and professional communication skills necessary for discussion of the political debates that confront these particular areas of Montana.

This program also benefits students of Rocky Mountain College.

"This grant has allowed RMC students to engage with other college students and improve their own debate and public speaking skills, while spreading debate education to tribal colleges," said Long-Hammond.

The grant was awarded by Open Society Institute through International Debate Education Association (IDEA), an organization that has been in existence for over 20 years and works with young people from all over the world. Long-Hammond is part of IDEA and has taught at camps in Bosnia, Slovenia, and Mexico, just to name a few.

Long-Hammond hopes the Tribal College Debate program will eventually extend to other tribal colleges in Montana and Wyoming.

You can follow the RMC Debate Team through Facebook and Twitter by following the RMC Debate page. All students are welcome to attend practices in Morledge-Kimball Hall room 125 on Tuesdays and Thursday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information or questions, contact Shelby Jo Long-Hammond at