Montana Educators Program: Holocaust, Native American Persecution and Lessons for Today


Billings, MT – Seventeen educators from Montana will come together in Billings next week for a program that draws lessons from the Holocaust and the persecution of Native Americans at a time when extremism and hate crimes have surged in the US. 

The teachers’ event, “Worlds Apart but Not Strangers,” June 19-24, is sponsored by The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Education and Human Rights. It is one of ten regional seminars around the US  where teachers can explore the issue of the Holocaust in a safe environment and, through that lens, address other genocides, mass atrocities and human rights issues.  In Montana, that local emphasis involves  the exploration of U.S. history about the massacre of American Indians and the continued discrimination of Native Americans today. The teachers’ seminar fits within the context of the Indian Education for All (IEFA) Act, a constitutional mandate for curricula in Montana.

 The National Congress of American Indians estimates 10 million American Indians lived in what is now the U.S. in 1500. Disease spread by Europeans, war and systemic oppression left only about 237,000 alive in 1900. 

“At a time of rising extremism, violent hate-mongering and other forms of racism, it is important for teachers to be  equipped to help their students confront these issues,” says Lacy Watson, a Billings teacher and one of the coordinators. 

For further information contact:

Lacy Watson at
Stephanie Stark at

The Olga Lengyel Institute was established to educate teachers in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world about human rights and social justice through the lens of the Holocaust and other genocides so that such atrocities may never again take place.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)