Public sentiment is everything.  With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.

Consequently, he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces

decisions.  He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.

                                           — Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln-Douglas debate at Ottawa, Illinois, August 21, 1858








Ma Hope Institute  ( · ʹpĕ: facing future) is a not-for-profit, place-based, community-engaged research institute in Western Montana working to foster and ensure healthy futures for children, youth, and communities by honoring, perpetuating, and extending placed-based knowledge and biocultural diversity through research, education, youth development, and social action.


Located in the Jocko Valley near Arlee, Ma Hope is initiating Year 1 of Heartlands & Homelands during Fall 2019. The multi-year research-writing-advocacy and materials development project is designed to inform and advance public sentiment and policymaking by addressing three important areas related to nurturing and sustaining community wellbeing:  (a) education and youth development addressing diversity and social justice; (b) public service addressing leadership and organizational capacity building; and (c) land stewardship addressing protection of public lands, shared spaces, and sustainable agriculture in communities of place.


While addressing the public-at-large, Heartlands & Homelands specifically targets educational institutions and public agencies, social and community-based nonprofits, and public policymakers impacting children and youth and land use in communities in Ravalli and Lake Counties and on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana.  The initiative is collaborative and community-engaged and ultimately intends to, in large measure, radiate out to impact the greater Western Montana community, the state, and the region as well.


Issues and Topics


Educating and Developing Diverse Youth

Troubled youth, Montana Juvenile Justice, and Judicial District #21 Youth Court

Indian Education for All curriculum and materials development  (Bitterroot Salish)

Codes of power:  White male privilege in The Sign of the Beaver, a popular YA novel

Accessing multiple opportunities for public post-secondary education

Advancing public education in the face of for-profit privatization


Advancing Community Service Leadership

Scaling up, out, or in-place:  Expanding organizational capacity and efficacy

Advancing compassionate service leadership:  Considering the case of Ali‘i Trusts

Comprehensive reforms:  Connecting housing, healthcare, and education


Stewarding Land and Communities of Place

Protecting public lands, shared spaces, and clean water

Heartlands & Homelands:  The Bitterroot Salish Homeland

Family farms in Montana and the legacy of “Get Big or Get Out"

Tariffs, taxes, and losing the family farm:  A relevant story from Puerto Rico













Heartlands and Homelands