Worlds Apart but not Strangers: Holocaust Education and Indian Education for All

Date: July 22-27, 2024
Location: Billings, Montana

Photo: Perspective at Deer Medicine Rocks

Worlds Apart But Not Strangers: Holocaust Education and Indian Education for All is designed for individuals and teams to discover current relevance in Holocaust Education, including gaining an understanding of historic and contemporary antisemitism, and Indigenous knowledge and histories, guided by the mandates of Montana’s Indian Education for All (IEFA) Act.

In this experiential, inquiry-based seminar, participating educators will explore connections between these two topics. Sponsored by The Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI), the seminar explores the past, including the impact of policies issued during the Holocaust and U.S. policies that impacted Native peoples. The seminar also focuses on the present, as participants consider the roles – perpetrator, ally, bystander – individuals choose for themselves in their daily interactions with one another, as well as stereotypes and biases that influence interactions in local schools and communities today.

Throughout the seminar, educators are asked to envision the kind of world they hope their children will live in and design an action plan to help their classrooms, schools, and/or communities move toward that ideal. Program highlights include field experiences to enhance knowledge about the Billings Jewish community and Native peoples of Montana.

Further details:

  • Books, materials, and entrance fees were provided
  • Meals: Lunches and one dinner were provided
  • Professional development credit: 3 MSU-B graduate credits for $135 total
  • Field experiences: Northern Cheyenne and Crow lands; Congregation Beth Aaron
  • Out-of-town participants: Low cost on-campus housing was available

Click here to view our flyer.

Click here to apply for the 2024 Montana seminar.



  • Lacy Watson, Marcia Beaumont, and Brenda Johnston

    Brenda Johnston grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation and recently retired from teaching English at Browning High School for over twenty-three years. She credits the Montana Writing Project with bringing new life to her teaching and paving the way to Holocaust Education. She has co-facilitated a TOLI seminar in Montana since 2012. Brenda currently teaches English at Browning High School in Browning, Montana. Her teaching career has included work with elementary students in the small town of White Sulphur Springs, Montana, with intermediate and middle school grades at a Hutterite Colony, and now on the Blackfeet Reservation where her students are 99.9% Native American. This range of experience has taught her that kids are kids, no matter the color of their skin. In 2013, Brenda received the Montana Indian Education for All Advocacy Award.
    Marcia Beaumont is a retired School Counselor. A member of the Blackfeet Tribe, she lives on the family ranch in Pryor, MT on the Crow Reservation. Her forty years in education included two varied environments: a reservation parochial school and an urban public school district. She is on the leadership team of the Elk River Writing Project at Montana State University-Billings. Marcia specializes in Indian Education for All (IEFA) and Social Justice teaching. She first attended a satellite seminar in 2011 and then trained at “Olga’s Table” in New York in the 2013 summer seminar and the 2016 leadership institute. She has been recognized as a Montana Indian Education Association Elementary Educator of the Year (2008) and is a recipient of Montana’s IEFA Advocacy Award (2017). Marcia’s leadership role with Worlds Apart but Not Strangers began in 2014 and is the highlight of her professional career.
    Lacy Watson has taught English at Billings West High since 2011 and has been drawn to Holocaust education her whole life. Growing up in rural Montana, without a synagogue or a Jewish community, she found some initial connection to her identity when learning about the Holocaust at home and in public school. Her desire to honor the history of the Holocaust in her teaching led her to Europe to study with the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers Program in 2014. After this life-changing experience, she went on to earn a Master’s of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies through Gratz College. She has worked with the Worlds Apart but not Strangers seminar since 2015 in varying capacities. Her work with the Elk River Writing Project, Worlds Apart, and TOLI have been integral to her teaching, learning, and living as a person determined to be an upstander.


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)