Montana Public Radio

Blackfeet Nation

How Blackfeet Nation Vaccinated So Many So Quickly

Apr 15, 2021

Within days of Montana’s first confirmed COVID-19 case, Blackfeet Nation declared a state of emergency and closed down. One year later, Blackfeet Nation is one area leading the country in high vaccination rates. Community buy-in is one of the reasons health care workers can now turn their vaccination efforts toward those outside of the reservation.

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Crow Nation Policing Case Heard Before U.S. Supreme Court

Mar 24, 2021

In 2016, a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer is patrolling the highway near Crow Agency. He finds a car pulled over on the side of the road. He approaches the vehicle and finds a man displaying signs of intoxication with drug paraphernalia nearby and a gun.

When the man, Joshua James Cooley, is charged with drug-related crimes, his lawyer successfully argues that the evidence from that night should be suppressed because the tribal police officer shouldn’t have had authority over Cooley, a non-Indian.

Tribes Report Highest Vaccination Rates in Montana

Mar 22, 2021

While Gov. Greg Gianforte recently announced that all Montanans will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on Apr. 1, tribal nations in the state have made the vaccine available to everyone and are currently reporting some of the highest vaccination rates in Montana.

St. Mary Visitor Center near Glacier National Park's east entrance.
National Park Service (PD)

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council voted Wednesday to reopen roads to and from the east gates of Glacier National Park. The move to reopen roads on the Blackfeet reservation leading to the bordering Glacier National Park comes after a full year of pandemic-related closures.

A photo from June 06, 2020 shows the closed St. Mary entrance into Glacier National Park, which borders the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The Blackfeet Nation has maintained travel closures longer than Glacier Park or the state of Montana.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

A full year into the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses on or near the Blackfeet Indian Reservation are waiting to hear if the east gates of Glacier National Park will reopen. MTPR’s Aaron Bolton reports on how the Blackfeet Tribe is navigating the upcoming tourism season as businesses push to reopen their doors to travelers.

Blackfeet tribal leaders announced Wednesday that the Blackfeet Indian Reservation will move into phase three of its reopening plan — exactly one year after they declared an emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced that it issued compliance orders to correct violations for water systems on the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Reservations.

Glacier National Park sign at the park's St. Mary entrance.
Glacier National Park (PD)

Glacier National Park is considering a visitor reservation system to handle park congestion amid the coronavirus pandemic. Park officials are also working with the bordering Blackfeet Nation to reopen eastern park entrances that have been closed since last summer.

Two grizzly bear cubs killed by a train near Trego were discovered Oct. 15, 2019.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The BNSF Railway Company Tuesday published a long-awaited habitat conservation plan intended to reduce grizzly bear mortalities in Northwest Montana.