Montana Public Radio

Feds Begin Transfer Of National Bison Range To Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Jan 15, 2021

The U.S. Interior Department Friday signed an order that will start the transfer of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

The transfer of the National Bison Range, which was carved out of the Flathead Indian Reservation in 1908, comes as part of the Montana Water Rights Protection Act. The federal legislation passed on the coattails of a federal spending bill in December and settles the CSKT’s water rights.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed an order directing the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to facilitate the transfer of the range to the tribes over the next two years.

The range will be placed in trust for the tribes, and that trust status will be published in the federal register later this month.