Montana Public Radio

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

State Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Albert Olszewski.
Montana Legislature

Opponents of a major Indian water rights settlement in Montana are calling on U.S. Sen. Steve Daines to withdraw it from Congress. But attorneys say some of the claims made by the conservative group from the Flathead Valley are false. 

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range near Moiese, MT.
Josh Burnham

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes would manage the National Bison Range in exchange for concessions on water rights, according to draft legislation Montana Sen. Steve Daines is expected to introduce in Congress. 

Bison at the National Bison Range.
USFWS

A bill proposing to settle long disputed water rights claims between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the federal government includes a massive new bargaining chip: transferring the National Bison Range to control of the tribes. U.S. Senator Steve Daines is expected to introduce a bill to do that as early as this week.

 

President Donald Trump formed a task force to address missing and murdered indigenous people last month. 

Grizzly Bear Advisory Council Struggles With ‘Herculean’ Challenge In Missoula

Dec 6, 2019
Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council members Caroline Byrd, left, and Trina Jo Bradley, right, listen as council member Chad Bauer addresses Gov. Steve Bullock at an advisory council meeting in Missoula Dec. 5.
Alex Sakariassen / Montana Free Press

MISSOULA — Chad Bauer, a member of Gov. Steve Bullock’s Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council, expressed a sense of urgency and unease on the second morning of the council’s Dec. 4-5 meeting in Missoula. Bauer and Bullock sat across from each other in a crowded conference room on the University of Montana campus. Bullock had recently announced the end of his presidential campaign, and Bauer, who works as a municipal market manager for Missoula waste hauler Republic Services, was three months into his role on the council. Bullock has given the council the task of delivering recommendations on the future of state grizzly bear management by the end of next summer.

Watering a field.
iStock

Montana Senator Steve Daines and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes announced Thursday that they have come to a new agreement that would settle thousands of the tribes’ water rights claims.

Daines says he will introduce legislation next week that, if approved by Congress, will bring more than a decade of negotiation over the tribes’ water rights to an end. Daines was not available for an interview, but provided this recorded comment.

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)

Two top officials in the Trump Administration offered support for one of the state’s final remaining tribal water agreements last week.

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. Now, it needs to pass in the U.S. Congress.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Culture Committee Director’s Vernon Finley (L) and Tony Incashola (R) take photos with U.S. Attorney General William Barr after gifting him a blanket Friday, Nov. 22 at the CSKT Tribal Chambers in Pablo, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a new initiative to combat the missing and murdered indigenous persons (MMIP) issue in Indian Country Friday on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

S&K Technolgies CEO Chad Cottet.
Courtesy

Any investor I know would be ecstatic to see a return of $40 million on an initial investment of just $150,000. But that is exactly what has resulted from the seed money that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes invested in a tribally-owned startup in 1999, and which has remarkably operated debt free ever since.

S&K Technologies has grown since then to a family of five companies of more than 900 employees with offices throughout the U.S. and around the world. From its headquarters on the Flathead Reservation, nestled in the Mission Valley in rural St. Ignatius, Montana, the company manages a complex government acquisition business that includes a landmark $4.2 billion contract from the U.S. Air Force.

An aquatic invasive species inspection station in Montana.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

State and tribal officials announced Thursday that a boat carrying invasive zebra mussels slipped through two Montana inspection stations, but inspectors in Ravalli found the mussels and decontaminated the vessel.

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