135 Years, 135 Stories title image

Moving on for the Better

TIANA, Montana

Tiana is a member of the Salish- Kootenai Tribe and attended the Salish-Kootenai College in Pablo, MT, to work towards her degree in Native American Studies. She is 21 years old and her daughter, Mar’rah is 7 years old. Tiana has lived her entire life on the Flathead reservation. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father was not in the picture. As a child, she was passed back and forth between several families and lived in several group homes. She lived much her time with her mother’s brother and his wife. However, when her mother was sober she would be returned to her mother until her drinking caused her to lose custody again.

When Tiana was 13 she became pregnant and was sent to Crittenton in Helena, MT. By that time she had a history of running away and difficult behavior. At Crittenton, she learned to bond with her child and though intensive therapy addressed the deep resentment she felt toward her mother. She received 24 hour support in her parenting and learned to communicate her needs in a positive manner.

When Tiana left Crittenton she was returned to the care of her mother. In her mother’s house, it was chaotic and they often argued. She realized it wasn’t a healthy environment for Mar’rah. She found a way to move out on her own. Tiana just wanted to raise her daughter in a healthier environment…different from how she had been raised.

Photo of Tiana

Tiana with former Montana Representative Dennis Rehberg.