continues commitment to state-tribal relationship
Governor Brian Schweitzer and his wife Nancy pose for a group picture
with the CSKT Council members. L to R: Jimmy Malatare, Carole Lankford,
Joe Durglo, E.T. "Bud" Moran, Montana's First Lady, Nancy Schweitzer,
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Steve Lozar, Mike Kenmille, and Charlie
Morigeau. The Governor stopped by Thursday, September 9, to touch base
and listen directly to tribal concerns. The governor spoke of the
filters that are in D.C. when it comes to hearing tribal issues; it's
always a good thing to come by and hear first-hand, he said. The
Council expressed gratitude to Gov. Schweitzer for his visit and effort
to work together with the Tribes. (Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — Not quite a week after Governor Schweitzer
and his wife Nancy made a visit to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai
Tribal Council chambers, the Governor released a 2010 Tribal Relations
Report highlighting the State of Montana and Tribal Nations' major
efforts to work together during this past fiscal year.
"This report demonstrates the State of Montana's
commitment to sincere and meaningful state-tribal relationships,"
Governor Schweitzer said. "We look forward to continuing these historic
efforts and strengthening the government-to-government relationship."
During Gov. Schweitzer's visit to Flathead last
week, he mentioned to the Tribal Council that there are too many
filters when it comes to listening to tribal issues in Washington D.C.
He said it would be good to get some of the leaders to come back to the
reservations to hear first hand what the issues are.
Ronan Representative Carole Lankford immediately
greeted the Governor and his wife, welcoming them to the tribal council
Arlee Representative James Steele, Jr. offered
kudos to the Governor for the efforts toward the Little Shell process
of becoming federally recognized tribe in the state of Montana. Steele
said, although it was in a preliminary state, the process looked
optimistic. Governor Schweitzer stated in an article in the Great Falls
Tribune back in March, said, when asked whether the state of Montana
would recognize the Little Shell tribal government, Schweitzer replied,
"The Little Shell are recognized as a sovereign tribe by the state, and
they occupy a dignified and central place in the history of Montana and
the Northern Plains." The statement continues, "The Governor's Office
believes that the Little Shell, as a sovereign tribe, can and must
resolve its internal differences without interference from state
After the welcoming, Chairman E.T. "Bud" Moran
opened the floor up to comments from the audience. DHRD Director,
Arlene Templer was the first to thank the Governor for funding received
for the DHRD transportation to build shelters for bus stops and
purchase new busses for a larger clientele on the reservation.
CSKT Tribal Attorney John Harrison thanked the
Governor and the Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks for working with the
Tribes on bison hunting rights in Yellowstone. The Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes of Montana and the Nez Perce of Idaho have federal
treaty rights allowing them to hunt off their reservations. Montana
acknowledges the rights of the Nez Perce and the Salish-Kootenai to
hunt according to the provisions of their treaties. The treaty language
allows tribal members to hunt only on "open and unclaimed" land, which
land managers and tribes have agreed means national forest and Bureau
of Land Management lands. Tribal game wardens travel to the Yellowstone
area to enforce those rules.
In response to the bison issue the Governor
assured the Tribes that the legal position and historical rights for
the Tribes are to remain respected.
The recent Tribal Report states many activities
and contributions of American Indian appointees who share their
expertise as members of the boards, councils and commissions. The
members' active participation expands the ability to reach all of
According to the Report, there were more than 650
cooperative agreements, trainings, projects and collaborative efforts
in effect between the state and the eight tribal governments in Montana
during fiscal year 2010, covering every aspect of governmental
operations, including economic development; the delivery of human
services; environmental stewardship; cooperation on finance and justice
issues; and education.
This year's report is a result of a 2003 state law
sponsored by Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy.
The full text of the report is available online at
Correction: In the printed edition, Polson District Council Steve Lozar was not identified in the image. We apologize for the oversight.