Montana Public Radio

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are participating in a national pilot project to improve coordination between agencies investigating missing and murdered Indigenous persons cases.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently developed protocols for federal, tribal and state law enforcement to work together more efficiently, which the CSKT will adapt into a Tribal Community Response plan that’s specific to the Flathead.

Craige Couture, the CSKT police chief, says this plan will help when investigations cross jurisdictional lines.

The Mission Mountains loom over farm fields and a barn on the Flathead Indian Reservatio in northwest Montana.
Aaron Bolton

About three quarters of Montanans have broadband access. But that access is less prevalent in rural parts of Montana, which are home to the state’s seven Indian reservations. Federal coronavirus relief funding is helping some tribes to build their own wireless broadband networks, shrinking the stark digital divide on reservations.

Flathead Lake Biological Station research boat, Jessie-B.
Courtesy Flathead Lake Biological Station

The University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station will study how tribal efforts to suppress non-native lake trout populations are possibly shifting the buildup of toxins in other fish species. The project is part of an inaugural wave of federal funding announced Wednesday for projects along the Columbia River Basin.

A pile of coal.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

The expansion of a British Columbia coal mine upstream of Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River will undergo review from the federal Canadian government. The decision handed down Wednesday will apply more scrutiny to the project.

Lake County/CSKT COVID-19 Cases By Age, August 10, 2020.
Lake County Public Health

Employees of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes went back to work Monday as a stay-at-home order on the reservation was lifted. There are still restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The CSKT Tribal Council decided back in late June that the stay-at-home order would be lifted July 13, but a spike in COVID-19 cases throughout Lake County following the July 4 holiday delayed the rollback.

The Supreme Court recently decided McGirt v. Oklahoma, a case many are calling one of the most important decisions for Native Americans in US History. The ruling signifies a shift in how the federal legal system recognizes tribal nations at a time when tribes are pushing for similar consideration in Montana courts.

On July 9, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in a decision that effectively determined the majority of eastern Oklahoma is rightfully Indian Country.

In Ronan, Montana.
Tailyr Irvine

Dating in small-town Montana can be tough. For Native Americans, a government-imposed tribal enrollment system dating back to the 1900's has made the dating pool even more complicated.

Salish and Kootenai photojournalist Tailyr Irvine explores the ties and binds of love and identity in “Reservation Mathematics,” an exhibit showing at the Smithsonian through October. The 2019 National Geographic Explorer and We, Women artist spoke with YPR News' Kaitlyn Nicholas about her exhibit and work.

A group of bipartisan state lawmakers released a letter Tuesday urging members of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee to pass the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ water compact onto the full Senate as soon as possible.

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)

A group of 27 state Republican legislators are asking federal lawmakers to hold a hearing on the federal Montana Water Rights Protection Act in Kalispell. The group includes prominent opponents to the legislation.

If passed, the bill would be the largest water-rights settlement agreement in history between the U.S. Government and a federally recognized tribe. The Montana Water Rights Protection Act would settle a decades-long dispute over thousands of water-rights claims filed by the 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.