BILLINGS, Mont. - The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council and Tribal Opioid Response Program organized a Native American Cultural Fair Saturday in Billings where even the minute aspects of Native American culture are going to be celebrated and preserved.

From tipi set-ups to round dances, Native Americans joined each other to discuss the importance of culture in bringing people together and providing a much-needed support system, especially for those dealing with mental health issues.

One of the program coordinators of the fair, Lacey Gonzales, said that culture is an important means of prevention and recovery for Native Americans who might be struggling.

"We are trying to inspire individuals by introducing them to craft activities so that perhaps it ignites a spark in someone to learn more about their culture or pick up this craft as a way to help through their recovery process and help with mental health issues,” added Gonzales.

She also explained that events like these provide an opportunity for Native Americans living in cities to feel a connection to their communities further away.

"Maybe they are from a tribal nation that does not have a reservation close by and they don't get an opportunity to visit their homeland and spend time with their people. So, this way we can bring all the urban Indian population that's living within the greater billings area together so that they can still experience Native American culture."

The cultural fair will continue until 3:00 pm Saturday to bring in urban Indians and present them with opportunities to celebrate and take pride in Native American culture while also providing a safe space to talk about their mental health issues.

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