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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Tribal Leader Urges Montana Lawmakers To Come Together

Vernon Finley, Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes delivered the State of the Tribal Nations Address in the state Capitol on Wednesday. Here Finley is greeted with applause as he enters the House chambers.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service
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Vernon Finley, Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes delivered the State of the Tribal Nations Address in the state Capitol on Wednesday. Here Finley is greeted with applause as he enters the House chambers.

The Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes delivered the State of the Tribal Nations Address in the state Capitol on Wednesday.  

CSKT Chairman Vernon Finley stood in front of lawmakers and statewide officials, in the Montana House, asking them to remain civil through their disagreements this legislative session.

"There are opposites married within this chamber. As long as you keep the focus on what is best for all of Montana in mind, you’ll do fine," Finley says.

Several times during Chairman Finley’s 20-minute speech he referenced the national political stage. He says Montana lawmakers should not look to what’s happening on the federal level as an example for appropriate debate and rhetoric.

"Throughout the history of the state of Montana there has been a lot of coming together. And in this time, right now, on a national level, my plea to you as state legislators is to remember that, to always keep it in mind. To keep in mind what Montana has always really been about," he says.

Finley says that history asks lawmakers to give consideration to diverse, and at times opposing, ideas as they debate changes to state law.

Finley asked lawmakers to remember tribal nations, and the 10-member Indian Caucus in the legislature, as they continue their work this legislative session.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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