You Have To Be Born In Montana To Be ‘Local’
That was the overwhelming response when I posed the question, "How long do you have to live in Montana, to be considered a local?" It is a question that can have a lot of different answers, just depending on who you ask.
Some of the responses that I got revolved around money. If you pay your taxes, then you should be considered a "local." Some responses had to do with "time." If you have been here for over a decade, you can be a "local." Some responses had to do with "attitude." If you come here to tell us what to do, then you won't ever be welcome.
Yes, I Am From Here
I was born in raised in Montana. I don't say this to brag, but I am just stating it as a fact. More and more over the years when meeting people, especially in any tourist areas of Montana, people will ask me where I am from. When I respond, "Montana", it is sometimes followed up with "No, I mean, where originally?" Of course, my response is "No really, I was born here." I am still not sure that they believe me.
Not Everyone Can Call Montana "Home"
There will always be people who feel that, no matter how long you live in Montana, if you weren't born here, you will never be a Montanan. I don't agree. I have known plenty of people born in Montana that don't act like "Montanans" and don't make our state proud. I have seen "locals" treat our state like their own personal garbage can. I have known people who have been found guilty of poaching. Are they allowed to claim our state because they were born here?
Some People "Fit" Here
I have known people who have moved here and have never really "fit in" or appreciated Montana. Some stay, but most of them move on, and that is fine. I wish them the best somewhere else. I have also known people who have moved here and for them it has felt like "home" from the moment they got here. They have raised families here. They pay their taxes. They volunteer in the community. They hunt and fish responsibly. They contribute to our state. Some of them have been here for most of their lives but weren't born here. They can't help that they were born somewhere else because they eventually made it to Montana to call this state their "home." I would consider a lot them "locals."