Bullock visits Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
By Lailani Upham
(L to R) CSKT Police Captain Louie Fiddler; Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock; CSKT Chief of Police Craig Couture; and Drug Force Task Agent Arlen Auld met briefly on Thursday day after Bullock met with CSKT Tribal Council. Bullock (D) is in the running for Montana Governor. Bullock engaged in tribal government consultations in 2010 and 2011 on an array of law enforcement issues. (Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — Attorney General and Democrat candidate for Montana Governor, Steve Bullock made a visit to the Flathead Reservation at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council headquarters, CSKT Law Enforcement Department and Two Eagle River School last Thursday.
In 2008 when Bullock was running for Attorney General he made a stop on Flathead Rez and told the Char-Koosta News, “I respect tribal sovereignty and if I can help Indian Country I will. I think that the people of Montana should understand that there are more sovereign governments in Montana than the one in Helena.”
He went on to say that he has and will continue to acknowledge and support the government-to-government relationship between the seven tribal nations and the State of Montana and work judiciously to make it better.
That he did.
Between 2010 and 2011, Bullock connected with tribal governments in Crow, Northern Cheyenne, CSKT, Blackfeet, Chippewa Cree, Fort Peck and Fort Belknap in consultations on a array of law enforcement issues.
Bullock said while running for office in 2008, a gentleman on the Crow Reservation told him, ‘everyone that votes for a candidate here – that person never comes back. They forget about us (Indians).’ The words rung in Bullock mind and heart and he kept the relation with the tribes of Montana in tact.
Bullock worked together with the Montana Department of Justice and the Highway Patrol discussing with tribal leaders the opportunities for cooperative work in areas such as: prescription drug abuse, crimes against children, domestic violence, consumer protection, and highway safety.
While visiting TERS students Bullock encouraged the students to be committed to completed education. He told the students he was pleased with the strides public schools are making in tribal history and government as well. “My ten-year old daughter knows more about the Native history and culture of the tribes than I did graduating from college.”
Bullock urged students to vote if they were 18. He also stated that the younger age group from 18 – 25 had the least votes – however, there was more at stake for that particular age group.
Bullock speaks with Two Eagle River students in Rodney Bird’s government class last Thursday. Bullock tells students to keep up the good work at being committed to being in school and finishing. “It will open up opportunities for you in life and have the ability to make a difference,” Bullock stated. (Lailani Upham photo)
In his period in office as Attorney General, Bullock worked closely with tribes and the state to eliminate prescription drug abuse.
Bullock stated in a Char-Koosta News article in 2008 during his campaign that the prescription drug abuse problem in Montana was huge and that he had been researching almost two years prior.
Bullock found since then that the prescription drug abuse found in tribal communities is the same as any other Montana community. However, there are unique challenges combating the abuse on reservations.
In the past year, Bullock has reached out to tribes regarding the challenges. The Montana Department of Justice organized a pharmaceutical “take-back” days on six of the reservations to reduce the supply of drugs that could be used for illegitimate purposes.
Through these forces, “The Great Montana Roundup: Pitch Your Paper and Pills” effort was launched to educate Montanans about protecting their personal and financial information and preventing the misuses of and abuse of prescription drugs.
Bullock offered permanent drop box grant to all the tribal communities for people to safely dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. The drop boxes were monitored by local law enforcement officials and the drugs were disposed of properly.
In May of 2011, the task proved effective. Seven pounds of prescription drugs were collected and 224 pounds of sensitive documents were shredded in Lame Deer, Crow, Rocky Boy, and Browning.
Bullock’s visit with the CSKT Tribal Council and CSKT Law Enforcement was to find out how the efforts were being followed through for the community.
Bullock, a lifetime Montanan, attended public school in Helena and graduate from Helena High School in 1984. He earned his undergraduate degree at Claremont McKenna College in California, and his law degree with honors form Columbia University Law School in New York.
He lives in Helena with his wife and three kids.
To learn more about Bullock for Governor visit his website at www.stevebullock.com.
Editor's Note: The the cutline for the first photo has been corrected; Arlen Auld was misidentified in the print version of this article. - S