MTPR

Blackfeet Reservation

Will Marlow (CC-BY-NC-2)

“Repeal and replace” is not just a mantra for Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, it’s also a rallying cry for constitutional reform on the Blackfeet Reservation.

"We've been at this for 82 years," says  Joe McKay, a member of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.

For the past three years, McKay’s spearheaded an effort to reform the Blackfeet Nation’s current constitution, written in 1935.

Grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.
Josh Burnham

Last Thursday the Interior Department announced that it’s removing Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the endangered species list. It’s expected that grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) will be de-listed in 2020.

For the first time in a lifetime, grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.  

In the town of Valier, where about 500 people live along a lake an hour and a half drive from the mountains to the west, the community is still adjusting to living among grizzlies.

Blackfeet tribal leaders have reopened some reservation waters to motorized boats. All boats are required to receive an official inspection before launching into a lake or river on the reservation.
Katrin Frye

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Blackfeet tribal leaders have reopened some reservation waters to motorized boats after approving new regulations in response to the threat of aquatic invasive mussels.

The Flathead Beacon reported last week that motorized crafts are limited to four lakes (Duck, St. Mary, Mission and Four Horn lakes).

The Cut Bank voting center.
Corin Cates-Carney

Colleen O’Brien didn’t know her usual polling place wouldn’t be open for Montana's May 25’s special election to fill Montana’s U.S. House seat until last week.

"It's making it incredibly inconvenient at best, and it is disenfranchising an underserved, underrepresented population at worst," O'Brien says.

Two Medicine River, in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Courtesy Gene Sentz

A Texas oilman is suing the federal government after they canceled his lease, along with two others, in the Badger Two-Medicine area south of Glacier National Park in Montana.

The area is a sacred site for the Blackfeet Nation.

Bringing bison back to the Blackfeet Reservation and their historic range on land that now belongs to the U.S. Forest Service, like the Badger-Two Medicine and Chief Mountain, is a vision eight years in the making.
(PD)

Last fall, the Blackfeet Tribe announced plans to reintroduce free-roaming bison to federal land outside its reservation. On Wednesday, the tribe met with state and federal agencies for the third time this year to hash out what that would look like.

Western Montana’s in for yet another round of winter weather, including heavy snow, rain and even some more freezing rain.
National Weather Service Missoula

Western Montana’s in for yet another round of winter weather, including heavy snow, rain and even some more freezing rain. National Weather Service meteorologist Travis Booth says this latest storm is moving into the region this afternoon.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

The U.S. Interior Department Tuesday canceled the final two oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area between Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation. The undeveloped leases were first issued in the 1980's in an area that is sacred to the Blackfeet Nation.

U.S. Senate Approves Blackfeet Water Settlement

Sep 16, 2016
Blackfeet Nation

The U.S. Senate has approved a $420 million water rights settlement with Montana's Blackfeet American Indian tribe as part of the larger Water Resources Development Act.

The Blackfeet Nation is working to restore bison to the species’ native range, which extends beyond the boundaries of their reservation into Glacier National Park and the nearby Badger-Two Medicine area on National Forest land.
Mike Albans

Most of the 50 people visiting Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park for a workshop this week have never seen a bison. They flew in from as far away as South Africa, Russia and Iran to learn about ways countries can work together to manage wildlife, rivers, reefs and landscapes.

Blackfeet Nation

Every four years, Americans line up at the polls to vote in a new executive. We call it nation-building. But the nation-building that Americans will do in November pales in comparison to what members of the Blackfeet Tribe are doing right now.

Superintendent of Schools Denise Juneau campaigns at North American Indian Days in Browning.
Nicky Ouellet

North American Indian Days is the biggest summer event on the Blackfeet Reservation. There’s a rodeo, there’s a powwow, there’s hand games and a parade, and even some politicking. For one congressional candidate, campaigning at Indian Days feels a lot like coming home.

Blackfeet teacher education
Aaron Jacob/Slate / Slate

The Blackfeet Tribe is working to expand teacher education on the reservation. It will soon offer a full four-year degree program that will allow local residents to become fully qualified teachers without leaving the reservation. A goal is to increase the number of Native American teachers teaching Native students.

Rep. Skees said his bill, HB-357, is an attempt to protect the state’s elections system from voter fraud.
IIP Photo Archive

New satellite election offices near and on American Indian Reservations in Montana saw low turnout before the primary, but state and tribal officials are still calling the effort to expand voting equality a success.

Satellite Voting Office Opening In Browning

Mar 28, 2016
Rep. Skees said his bill, HB-357, is an attempt to protect the state’s elections system from voter fraud.
IIP Photo Archive

A satellite voting office is opening on the Blackfeet Reservation for the first time. The new office in Browning would help reservation residents gain equal access to same-day voter registration.

Blackfeet Water Settlement Clears U.S. Senate Committee

Feb 3, 2016
U.S. Capitol
flickr user Tim Evanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved a $420 million water rights settlement with Montana's Blackfeet American Indian tribe on Wednesday, sending the measure to the full Senate with how to pay for it still unresolved.

These Browning kindergartners spend part of their day learning in English, and part of it learning in Blackfeet. The school's aim is to have a class of fluent Blackfeet speakers by the time the students graduate from high school.
Courtesy Emily Ritter Saunders

This year, the Montana state legislature passed a bill that provides funding for public schools to start immersion programs in native languages. It’s part of an effort to preserve these fragile cultures. Across the United States, about 115 languages have been lost in the last five centuries. But so far, the Browning school system, on the southern part of the Blackfeet Reservation, is the only district to take the money.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

John Murray, the Blackfeet Tribe’s historic preservation officer says the Badger-Two Medicine is sacred land. As he walks through the tall dry grass here, he refuses to give life to the idea that this land will be disturbed in search of natural gas.

Map of Solenex Lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

Wednesday brings another round in the decades-long fight over whether to allow energy development on U.S. Forest Service land in the Badger-Two Medicine area just south of the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.

USDAgriculture State Director of Rural Development Anthony Preite awards a check to NACDC Financial Services Executive Director Angie Main.
Corin Cates-Carney

Small businesses in and around the Blackfeet Reservation now have access to a little more help. This week, for the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended support to a Native American community development group, to make “micro-loans” to boost the local economy.