In the early 1950s, a small group of Indian students formed an Indian Club for the purposes of mutual support and promoting awareness of Indian issues. The club eventually became very active and evolved into a larger, more formal organization in the mid 1960s. In keeping with the University's symbol of the grizzly bear, the club chose the name "Kyi-Yo," meaning bear in the Blackfeet language.
Since 1968, the Kyi-Yo organization has sponsored an annual education conference that focuses on various issues of importance to Native Americans. It also hosts one of the oldest, largest student sponsored powwows in the nation.
With an average enrollment of over 600 Native American students, the University of Montana perennially has the largest enrollment of Indian students in the Montana University System. The Kyi-Yo Indian Club plays an integral role in promoting a feeling of pride and positive identity with Indian culture among students at the University of Montana.