Desja Eagle Tail has been singing since she was a small child. She is a member of the Crow Nation and incorporates her Native American roots into the music she performs today. Her musical talents were first recognized when she ran for Miss Montana in 2010; she debuted the following year professionally. Eagle Tail performs regularly in festivals for Indigenous Youth and global virtual events, like World Peace and Prayer Day and the Alaska State Fair.
In 2011, Eagle Tail started her college education at Montana State University Billings. MSU Billings was the perfect place for her because she could spend more time with her family. She could be near her grandparents in the last stage of their lives while remaining an important part of her younger brother’s life, which was just beginning.
As an MSUB student, Eagle Tail loved to spend time on campus. She remembers listening to the water flow in the irrigation ditch while admiring the statuesque trees. The surrounding beauty helped ground her in her music and allowed her to breathe easier amid the stress of being a non-traditional student.
Naturally, Eagle Tail also spent a lot of her time at Cisel Hall, where she embraced the music department. She especially loved the Music CD library and reveled in the practice rooms — “little cocoons” to create music and write songs. Her coursework taught her to compose music, work with a band, and the importance of contracts. Further, she learned time management skills, vocal techniques, and marketing.
With the confidence to coordinate performances, direct her band and sing without hurting her voice, Eagle Tail completed her music business degree in 2015. As an alumna, she continues to perform and assist current music students. MSU Billings showed Eagle Tail that there are many ways to succeed in life and attain a degree.
“The world is full of amazing people, from the staff to the students and teachers; they are diverse, knowledgeable, and full of surprises and quirks,” Eagle Tail said.
Education gave Eagle Tail the ability to grow her musical talents and make lifelong connections. Her music career has given her the ability to connect with many people, reaching them deeper through song and dance.