Montana Public Radio

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

A social-distancing sign at a grocery story.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are lifting the Flathead Indian Reservation’s shelter-in-place order mid-July. The order was first issued in late March, when novel coronavirus cases were detected in the state.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact narrowly passed the state Legislature in 2015 after more than a decade of negotiation. It settles water rights in and around the Flathead Reservation.
David Wiley (CC-BY-2)

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee held its first hearing Wednesday on the Montana Water Rights Protection Act. The legislation would settle long-disputed water rights claims of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Screenshot - Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' Tribal Health website announces youth education social media campaign on COVID-19
Screenshot captured 06-16-20 at https://myemail.constantcontact.com/KIID-TRUTH--CSKT-INNOVATIVE-CAMPAIGN-LAUNCHES.html?soid=1129174657753&aid=RLn0iXVoFmA / Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' Tribal Health

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes launched a social media campaign last week aimed at local kids, who tribal leaders fear aren’t taking the risk of COVID-19 seriously.

A grizzly bear visiting a wire hair snag station near Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)

As bear activity is picking up across northwest Montana, grizzly bear managers are juggling the uncertain and unexpected impacts of COVID-19 on wild places.

On Friday, state, federal and tribal wildlife officials met remotely over Zoom for their semi-annual meeting. The group discussed how to manage the largest grizzly populations in the lower 48 states – the bears in and around Glacier National Park.

Native American tribes in Montana are beginning to use federal funds to bolster their response to the novel coronavirus.

The Crow Tribe announced they received $25 million from the U.S. Treasury. The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe received $25 million, per Chairman Gerald Gray. According to the office of Sen. Steve Daines, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes received over $24 million.

The state tribal-relations committee recently wrote a letter urging the public to respect the closure orders on reservations across Montana, which have been slower to reopen than elsewhere in the state. But science research continues to flourish on tribal lands, despite COVID-19-slowdowns and uncertainty.

This story is part of our series looking at the impact of the novel coronavirus on science in Montana.

Mail ballots for Montana's June 2 primary go out this Friday. This weekend, Democrats and Republicans vying for Montana's governor's seat faced off in a virtual debate hosted by the Montana Broadcasters Association. Corin Cates-Carney, with the help of Nicky Ouellet, recap the gubernatorial debate.

Native American tribes are taking varied approaches to Gov. Steve Bullock’s announcement Wednesday that Montana will lift the statewide stay at home order.

Some plan to align local restrictions with the state, while others will forge their own path.

Courtesy of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Energy Keepers Inc., owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, has signed a contract to sell hydroelectric power to a Washington state utility.


Multiple tribes in Montana declared states of emergency over the weekend following the confirmation of six presumptive COVID-19 cases in the state.

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