MTPR

Blackfeet Nation

Huddled behind his white pickup truck in northwestern Montana, Roland Kennerly stuffs his hands into his coat pockets.

"Oh, this wind," he says. "It's starting to snow now."

The road had turned into a muddy slop leading towards a pocket of socked-in mountains and roadless grassland known as the Badger-Two Medicine area.

"You can only get in there by walking or by horseback, so it keeps it in its natural state," Kennerly says. "I hope it stays that way, for my kids and my kids' kids."

Blackfeet tribal council member Roland Kennerly sits at the edge of the Badger-Two Medicine area near the Blackfeet Reservation.
Nate Hegyi / YPR

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended a new national monument at Badger-Two Medicine. While the Blackfeet Nation says the proposal is a good start, they’re also hesitant to fully embrace it before having a say in how the proposed monument is managed. 

Tribes are gathering in Yellowstone National Park this weekend to demand two place names change. Leaders of the Blackfoot Confederacy and Great Sioux Nation are fed up that Hayden Valley and Mount Doan memorialize men who advocated for the genocide of Native Americans.

When the Blackfeet Tribe learned its tribal members were about to start receiving payouts from a massive federal court settlement, the tribe wanted to get ahead of some of the problems that can arise when a lot of money floods a cash-based society.

"There was about 150 some million dollars that was injected into this economy here," says Mark Magee, the Blackfeet Tribe’s land department director.

Mermaids, Wildlife Politics, Murder, And Lost Love

Aug 10, 2017
Penguin Random House

In the wake of Fourth of July fireworks in Montana’s Madison Valley, Hyalite County sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Sheriff Harold Little Feather investigate a horrific scene at the Palisades cliffs, where a herd of bison have fallen to their deaths. Victims of blind panic caused by the pyrotechnics, or a ritualistic hunting practice dating back thousands of years? The person who would know is beyond asking, an Indian man found dead among the bison, his leg pierced by an arrow.
 

Author's Deep Dive Into The Baker Massacre

Aug 2, 2017
University of Oklahoma Press

On the morning of January 23, 1870, troops of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry attacked a Piegan Indian village on the Marias River in Montana Territory, killing many more than the army’s count of 173, most of them women, children, and old men. The village was afflicted with smallpox. Worse, it was the wrong encampment. Intended as a retaliation against Mountain Chief’s renegade band, the massacre sparked public outrage when news sources revealed that the battalion had attacked Heavy Runner’s innocent village—and that guides had told its inebriated commander, Major Eugene Baker, he was on the wrong trail, but he struck anyway. Remembered as one of the most heinous incidents of the Indian Wars, the Baker Massacre has often been overshadowed by the better-known Battle of the Little Bighorn and has never received full treatment until now.

Boat inspections are mandatory at City Beach and Whitefish Lake State Park this season
Nicky Ouellet

As the state ramps up its efforts this year to screen boats for invasive species, some local groups have taken inspections into their own hands.

The City of Whitefish and the Whitefish Lake Institute, for example, have been running two city-funded mandatory check stations since Memorial Day at the only public boat launches on Whitefish Lake. The Whitefish Lake Institute, a local nonprofit that monitors water quality on the lake, also runs a decontamination station.

From left to right: Harry Barnes, Smokey RidesAtTheDoor, Tim Davis, Jay DustyBull sing an honoring song for Francis X. Guardipee, the first Blackfeet National Park Ranger, June 30, 2017 in Glacier National Park..
Nicky Ouellet

In celebration of the opening of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park this week, members of the Blackfeet Tribe held an honoring ceremony.

Amid the peaks of the Continental Divide, Blackfeet men in full regalia sang an honoring song for Francis X. Guardipee, the first Blackfeet tribal member to serve as a National Park Ranger.

Blackfeet tribal members rejected a measure to reform their constitution Tuesday.

The proposed reform constitution would have drastically revamped the structure of the tribe’s government by establishing a three-branch system with built-in checks and balances. But that change was rejected by tribal members. Instead, the tribe will retain its current nine-member, single branch governing body, called the Tribal Business Council, which has been in place for the past 82 years.

Sign saying "Welcome to Blackfeet Indian Country."
Will Marlow (CC-BY-NC-2)

“Repeal and replace” is not just a mantra for Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, it’s also a rallying cry for constitutional reform on the Blackfeet Reservation.

"We've been at this for 82 years," says  Joe McKay, a member of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.

For the past three years, McKay’s spearheaded an effort to reform the Blackfeet Nation’s current constitution, written in 1935.

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