In the early 1950s, a small group of Native American students formed a Native American Club for the purposes of mutual support and promoting awareness of Native American 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 Native American Student Association continues to host one of the oldest, largest student sponsored Pow-Wows in that nation with over five thousand attendees each and every year. The celebration has slowly evolved into what it represents today and continues to promote the cultural traditions of Native Americans.
With an average enrollment of over 600 Native American students, the University of Montana perennially has the largest enrollment of Native Ameriacn students in the Montana University System. The Kyi-Yo Native American Student Association plays an integral role in promoting the cultural traditions of Native Americans. Through many extra-curricular activities throughout the year, Kyi-Yo hopes to engage the faculty and students of the University of Montana in the cultural identities of Native Americans to support cultural diversity on campus.